The third time in opponents’ lineups and the end of starts have haunted Nestor Cortes this season, so much so that he recently called his struggles in such situations “the story of my season”.
That story added another painful chapter on Wednesday when Cortes served a seventh-inning three-run blast to Adam Frazier of the Orioles. The home run hit the right-field foul post at Yankee Stadium and ruined what had been an impressive night for Cortes.
The Yankees still led, 5-4, at that time, but Baltimore scored eight total runs in the seventh after Jimmy Cordero and Albert Abreu followed Cortes out of the bullpen. The offensive explosion led to a 9-6 Orioles victory, even though the Yankees led 5-1 going into the inning.
Cortes entered the game with 1.503 OPS when he pitched the third time in the order this season, and he left after allowing five hits, four runs, two walks, five strikeouts and two homers in six complete innings and 89 pitches. Ryan Mountcastle hit the other homer, a solo shot, in the fourth inning.
The Yankees’ seventh-inning implosion — which also included hits from Gunnar Henderson, Anthony Santander and Austin Hays — squandered the performances of Gleyber Torres and Isiah Kiner-Falefa.
Torres threw two longballs in the contest, including a two-run dinger, while Kiner-Falefa added another two-run homer and a triple. Orioles starter Tyler Wells allowed those homers and five earned runs overall.
Typically a light hitter, “IKF” has been on a bit of a surge lately, racking up five extra hits, including three homers, in his last six games. For comparison, he only had two extra hits — a pair of doubles — in his first 30 games.
Both Kiner-Falefa hits topped 100 miles per hour off the bat Wednesday. Not bad for a guy who started the day with an average exit speed of 87.8 mph this season.
The Yankees added another run in the bottom of the seventh when Anthony Rizzo hit a home single, but that’s all that went well for the Bombers this inning.
With the series now tied at one, the Yankees will look to beat their division rival in Thursday’s rubber game. Another strong start from Clarke Schmidt would help after holding the Reds in last place to two earned runs in five innings on May 19, although the Orioles sent Schmidt for an early shower on April 7 in Baltimore.
Schmidt has a 6.00 ERA this season.
Fellow right-hander Kyle Gibson will leave for Baltimore. The veteran has a 4.27 ERA in his first 10 starts with the Orioles after signing with them in the offseason.