A Baltimore offense that sat quiet for much of the second half of its final homestand hoped Sunday’s Round 8 rally would spark a turnaround. That seemed to be the case for the first third of Monday’s game at Yankee Stadium.
But the roster’s inability to produce returned for the remainder of what became a 6-3 loss to the New York Yankees to open the final road trip before the All-Star break. Unable to hold a three-point lead early on thanks to three Yankees home runs, the Orioles (49-34) are now just three games above New York for the top wildcard spot in the American League.
“We had a few hits with runners in scoring position, but not enough,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “We had a lot of traffic, especially those first six or seven rounds. Didn’t have as much power tonight as them. They picked up some runs quickly and we had to chain the hits, but we just didn’t chain enough tonight.
The Yankees (46-39) scored four runs in their last two offensive innings, rallying around three of Baltimore’s most reliable arms. With the Orioles leading by a point in the seventh, Mike Baumann left two in the scoring position for Yennier Cano, who was one step away from breaking free before an 0-2 lead went to the safety net and tie the game. Danny Coulombe inherited a runner from Cano in the eighth and allowed another before snagging a sweeper on Harrison Bader for a game-tying three-run home run.
“They’ve been great all year,” Hyde said. “I just had a night’s rest in the enclosure.”
Five of New York’s runs have come via long balls. A day after being among those snubbed of an All-Star appearance, Orioles right-hander Tyler Wells gave a start that was in many ways the epitome of his 2023 outings. In six innings, Wells allowed only two runs, returning -solo home runs from Anthony Volpe and Kyle Higashioka in fifth. He came close to allowing another in the sixth, with Giancarlo Stanton’s drive within a foot of over the center field wall. Wells followed that double with a walk but retired the next two Yankees to complete his seventh quality start.
Each of Wells’ 17 outings has gone at least five innings, a mark only four other pitchers match. His WHIP, which rose to .902 with Monday’s seven runners, leads the majors. His ERA dropped to 3.19, although 27 of the 37 runs he allowed were on home runs. The 21 he gave up are tied for second in the majors.
“If I go out there and give up two solo home runs and do six each time, then sometimes it’s hard to complain,” Wells said. “I am very happy to [my first half]. Hopefully that continues in the second half. I think that’s where it’s going to be more important. But if I give my team a chance to win, then I’m happy, and that’s literally what I try to do every time I go.
But the chance he provided didn’t materialize despite Baltimore’s early attack. After a perfect game against the Oakland Athletics, Yankees right-hander Domingo Germán started his night with another clean frame before three straight singles from Ryan O’Hearn, Ramón Urías and Cedric Mullins opened the second and scored a run. Urías was chosen second, limiting the opportunity to score.
In the third, Adley Rutschman followed Gunnar Henderson’s single with a double deep left, scoring Henderson from the first. Rutschman scored Baltimore’s third run on another O’Hearn hit, giving the Orioles as many runs in three innings against Germán as they have in the last 28 innings of homestand. But O’Hearn left several runners on base in both the fifth and seventh as the Orioles failed to score in the final six innings of the game, allowing New York to comeback.
“Obviously tough,” O’Hearn said. “I feel like we should have won this game.”
In his first game since being named All-Star and hours after announcing he would be in the Home Run Derby, Rutschman recorded three hits. The Orioles finished with 12, although 10 were singles.
Right-hander Chris Vallimont got the last two outs of the eighth inning in his major league debut as the Orioles lost for the fifth time in six games.
“We have a very good team, a very good formation and very good pitchers,” O’Hearn said. “We have everything you need to succeed, and we will. Just a tough stretch here. We have to find a way to end this first half well and have a good road trip.
around the horn
- All-Star outfielder Austin Hays and rookie infielder Jordan Westburg were both absent from Monday’s lineup after suffering injuries on Sunday, with Hyde saying they are “painful” but “feeling a lot better.” Hays injured his left hip in a collision with Minnesota Twins first baseman Donovan Solano and left the game. Westburg took a 101 mph fastball to the left hand with the bases loaded in the eighth inning, driving home the game-winning run in Baltimore’s 2-1 victory. He stayed for the final half, and Hyde said tests on the hand showed no break and Westburg was able to practice batting, although the hand was wrapped.
- Although first baseman Ryan Mountcastle (vertigo) has improved offensively of late during his rehab assignment with Triple-A Norfolk, Hyde said he remains day to day with no designated day to come off the roster injuried people. After going 0-for-11 in its first four games in rehab, Mountcastle is 8-for-20 with a home run in its last four games.
- Wide receiver James McCann, on the 10-day disabled list with a sprained left ankle, “feels ready to go” after playing two rehab games with Double-A Bowie over the weekend, Hyde said.