(Jacob Gaba is a big fan of SSTN who aspires to join our team as a writer. He contributed this excellent recap. Look for more from Jacob very soon!)
Even with DJ LeMahieu and Aaron Judge taking a rest in Game One of today’s doubleheader, the Yankees had no trouble hitting four home runs, defeating the Orioles by a score of 8-5.
Although James Paxton struggled in the first inning, he only allowed one run (on a Renato Nuñez sacrifice fly). By continuing to foul off Paxton’s pitches in the first, the Big Maple’s pitch count reached 29 before retiring the side in the first. The Yankees needed Paxton to settle down after that and go at least five or six innings as they planned to toss an opener in the second game.
The Yankees offense certainly picked up their starter in the bottom half of the first, with Brett Gardner working a leadoff walk, followed by a Gio Urshela fielder’s choice to Hanser Alberto at third, whose throw to second wasn’t in time to beat Gardy. Didi Gregorious then stepped up to the plate, hammering an 0-1 pitch to deep right-center into the Yankee bullpen to give the Bombers a 3-1 lead. Gleyber Torres jumped in on the action later that inning, taking the Orioles starter Gabriel Ynoa deep to right field giving the Yankees a 4-1 lead.
That was Torres’ 11th home run against Baltimore this year tying Gleyber for the second-most homers against one opponent in a single season during the divisional era (since 1969). Only Sammy Sosa (in 1998 against Milwaukee) has hit more against one opponent during a single season. The young Yankees middle infielder certainly has a chance to break that record as the Yankees have three games left against the Orioles this season.
With an absolute bomb from Gio Urshela (461 feet) in the fifth and a two-out laser homer from Cameron Maybin to left in the sixth, the Yankees extended their MLB record from 52 to 56 home runs against a single opponent in a single season.
After the early offensive help, James Paxton settled in well, handing the ball over to Tommy Kahnle to start the seventh. Paxton turned in six complete innings of work with three earned runs on five hits, including an Anthony Santander home run into the visiting bullpen in the sixth.
That home run wouldn’t be the only bright spot of the game for the Orioles though. Luis Cessa started the eighth after a 1-2-3 seventh from Kahnle and struggled. The young Mexican reliever loaded the bases with nobody out. Seemingly unable to hit his locations on the sunny afternoon in the Bronx, a fielder’s choice off the bat of Renato Nuñez scored the Orioles’ fourth run of the game. After walking the next batter, Aaron Boone took the ball from Cessa turned to Zack Britton to get the final two outs and escape the bases-loaded jam. After striking out Hanser Alberto looking, Britton couldn’t hit his spots against the next hitter (Jace Peterson) and walked in the Orioles’ fifth run. With the Yankees now leading just 8-5, and with the tying runners on base, it was a classic Britton sinker that produced a grounder that ended the inning.
With a nice play by Urshela throwing from his knees to end the game, Aroldis Chapman shut the door on Baltimore, earning his 32nd save of the season.
With the win, James Paxton climbed to 8-6. Gabriel Ynoa took the loss for the Orioles, dropping to a lackluster 1-7 on the season. The Bombers improved to 14-2 overall against Baltimore this season and look to continue their success against the Birds tonight as Chad Green opens.