Orioles grind out 3-2 win to even series

Oddly enough, things actually felt pretty good for the Yankees early in the game, as they caught most of the breaks. Ichiro Suzuki scored in the first inning on a circus move, and Andy Pettitte was generally solid, though he did hit one rough patch in the third inning. After retiring the first eight men he faced, Pettitte allowed the next five Orioles, though only two would score thanks to a fortuitous event in which J.J. Hardy failed to score from second on a slow ground ball that rolled into the outfield because he saw neither the ball get past Derek Jeter nor his third base coach waving him home. After that Pettitte would more or less settle in, and gave the Yankees a chance to break through at multiple opportunities.

Things really began to go bad in the fourth inning, however, when the Yankees loaded the bases with one out but failed to score even a single run. Curtis Granderson actually lined a single into center field but a gimpy Mark Teixeira had no chance of making it home against Adam Jones‘ arm, and then Eduardo Nunez flailed a weak pop up to the shortstop position, dampening the Yankees’ chances severely before a Jeter ground out stomped them out completely. The Orioles would manage to tack on an insurance run in the sixth inning when Mark Reynolds followed a Matt Wieters double by poking a single past a not-diving Cano to bring Wieters around to score (seriously, I’m not one to complain about a lack of grititude, but considering that Cano just did the exact same thing roughly a month ago in Tampa Bay it was really frustrating. All you have to do is nock the ball down to keep the slow as molasses Wieters from scoring). That run would prove to be huge when Nunez created a run with his legs in the very next inning, racing to second when Chris Davis missed adiving catch in the outfield and scoring quickly on a good piece of hitting by Jeter.

Unfortunately for the Yankees, the Orioles turned the game over to their bullpen after Ichiro made the first out, and the Bombers never really even threatened the Orioles’ relievers. Darren O’Day got A-Rod to strike out swinging on a 3-2 slider, and after Ichiro stole second base, the Orioles elected to have Brian Matusz walk Cano to face Nick Swisher. After wild pitch, Swisher flied a 3-2 pitch high into left field for the third out, and the Yankees would only get one more base runner in the game when Mark Teixeira led off the eighth inning with yet another long single, this one into the left field corner. he didn’t get thrown out at second, but the Yankees didn’t get him that far either.

The one bright spot in the game was Pettitte, who finished seven innings and faced on hitter in the eighth, finishing the game by allowing three runs on seven hits and a walk with five strikeouts. David Robertson also turned in a quality outing by getting two weak balls and striking out Mark Reynolds in the eighth inning. He threw 12 pitches in the game, 9 of which were curveballs. The position players were just terrible, however, especially at the plate where only three balls were hit particularly well. Those were Teixeira’s eighth inning single, the Cano double into the right field corner that scored Ichiro in the first inning, and Jeter’s seventh inning RBI single. That last one wasn’t even hit particularly hard, just dinking ovr the shortstop and into the outfield, but Jeter did make a really good adjustment to the way Chen was pitching him in the at bat and pulled the two strike pitch for the single rather than simply trying to go the other way with it. That that’s one of the most positive offensive moments I can come up with from tonight goes to show you exactly what kind of performance it was.

Now the two teams will head back to New York to finish the series locked in a 1-1 tie, which isn’t so bad in its own right, but feels a lot worse than it should given the way tonight’s game went. We’ve simply seen this offense lay an egg far too many times in the second half this year to feel good at all about watching it happen in a very winnable playoff game. Hiroki Kuroda will get the ball for the Yankees as they try to take the pivotal Game 3, but he’ll be opposed by Orioles’ righty Miguel Gonzalez, who has set a personal best for strikeouts in a game each of the last two times he’s faced the Yankees. Is this starting to feel like last year’s ALDS to anyone else?


About Brien Jackson

Born in Southwestern Ohio and currently residing on the Chesapeake Bay, Brien is a former editor-in-chief of IIATMS who now spends most of his time sitting on his deck watching his tomatoes ripen and consuming far more MLB Network programming than is safe for one's health or sanity.

23 thoughts on “Orioles grind out 3-2 win to even series

  1. I know no years are alike, but the Yankees have done this a couple times, win game 1 of the DS by a deceivingly high score, lose a tight game 2 (02,06,11) and then fold. Or in '10 Texas when they won a close game one then folded the next three before losing in 6. Hope the Yanks don't fall apart again, but this feels like a 5 game series.

  2. Can I ask an honest question…

    Exactly when do you lose in the postseason by one run and it ISN'T incredibly frustrating… it's the nature of the sport…

    I actually felt good about Pettitte and that the bad defense didn't hurt him, I feel pretty good about the lineup, and I even feel good about Arod and Swisher, who I expect to bounce back in game 3..

    The Yankees will get the long ball going and win game 3… don't be shocked to see the Orioles come back and win Game 4 but I firmly believe the Yankees got this

  3. One thing you forgot – A-Rod's first AB, where he hit a hard, low liner to second that turned into a double play. A little bit of bad luck on BABIP that could have changed the game early. Maybe Jeter doesn't score with no one out against Jones' arm, but then you have bases loaded for Cano instead of just Ichiro at 1st.

  4. I know I'm supposed to be all pro-ARod, but there is zero reason he should be batting third right now. Baseball is a meritocracy and he merits something lower than #3

  5. I'd like to see Chavez against righties, but let's not magnify A-Rod's faillures last night. Yeah, making the last out on a strikieout looks bad, but the Yankees didn't lose the game in the ninth inning. They lost it when they had the tying and go-ahead runs in scoring position in the seventh and Swisher flied out against Matusz. They lost when the got the leadoff runner on in the eighth and then couldn't put a ball in play — two strikeouts and a foul out, none involving A-Rod. Yeah, A-Rod's .111 looks awful, but as Dave points out above, if that rocket doesn't find Andino's glove, you have a very different inning (heck, I was relieved it wasn't a triple play — it reminded me of the old Strat-O-Matic "line out into as many outs as possible). So, yeah, the game found A-Rod in the ninth, but other Yankees lost it earlier.

  6. Why are we focusing on A-Rod not hitting? I don't see anyone mentioning Jeter's second official error in two games, or another passed ball by Tex? Thanks, Brien, for calling out Cano's apparent lack of effort – the dude goes back and forth – when he's in a hitting groove, and constantly being lauded as a "force of nature" at the plate, he just doesn't seem to be quite as ambitious in the field. But that's Robby.

    If I were a conspiracy theorist, I'd say they got word from Hank/Hal/or Cash to lay down, guaranteeing two sold out games at the Stadium. At least I hope that's the case – since the team didn't look all that hot, if indeed they WERE trying.

  7. Girardi shouldn’t be getting the EZ Pass on not pinch running Gardner for Teixiera in the 8th. Saying "Gardner will only be used when he can steal — Matusz is tough to steal on – hence no Gardner" is ridiculous:

    1.Hard to steal on is not impossible to steal on.
    2.Even if he’s not actually going to steal, he makes Matusz think about it, have to throw over, possibly messing with his pitching rhythm, throwing extra fastballs, etc.
    3.Gardner, unlike Teixiera right now, can score from first on a double.
    4.Gardner, unlike Teixiera right now, can go from first to third on a single.
    5.Gardner, unlike Teixiera right now, can score from second on a single
    6.Gardner, unlike Teixiera right now, can get to second on a short passed ball.

    It’s also a substitution that doesn’t burn up an extra player. Gardner to left, Ichiro to right, Swisher to first (worse infield defense but better outfield defense). You lose Teixiera’s bat but if you don’t tie up the game he’s not getting up again anyway.

    Bad call, Joe.

  8. How much of ARod's (or the Yankees) struggles (especially in the 9th inning) comes from the fact that Angel Hernandez was giving pitchers the inside pitch about 3" off the plate to righties? I know Martin was rung up in a big spot earlier in the game (and complained and even SMOLTZ said something). Of the 6 pitches ARod saw in the 9th, he laid off (properly) the 3 outside pitches and swung at the 2 inside pitches that AHer had been calling before striking out on the (legitimately) good 6th pitch?

  9. Angel Hernandez has no business umpiring a major league game. And he strikes me as the type to be petty & vindictive. The plate might've gotten wider exactly because several Yankees had the temerity to question his strike zone.