Their YES network advertises the Yankees as Summer’s Biggest Thrill Ride. The Bombers’ season certainly has had more ups and downs, twists and turns and dramatic drops and tight wins than any rollercoaster ride. A week ago, the Yankees were coming off a 13-game winning streak having forced their way back into the playoff picture and even made the division-leading Rays start to look back at them with a little concern.
Saturday, the Bombers managed just three hits against the worst team in baseball and dropped their sixth game of the season against the lowly Orioles. Baltimore no-hit the Yankees for six innings, withstood a late “rally,” and scored a run off closer Aroldis Chapman to beat the Bombers 4-3 in front of 34,571 at the Stadium.
“Look, these games are super important. And we’re trying to win them. And, we got held down enough today. So that’s frustrating and unfortunate,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “But we’ve got a big one tomorrow that we got to grab.”
These games are ones the Bombers should be using to build momentum and position themselves for the playoff push. Instead, the Yankees (78-57) have lost six games to the Orioles this season, more than any other team has lost to Baltimore. The Orioles, who are still 50 games below .500, have just 42 wins overall this season. Saturday’s loss opened the door for the Rays, who went 18-1 against the last-place O’s, to expand their lead and get closer to winning their second straight American League East division title, and the Red Sox, who are on the Yankees heels in the Wild Card race.
The Bombers’ inability to slam the door on the Orioles (42-92), who they have one more series against in Camden Yards, dropped them to 9-6 against the Birds season so far. They are also just 28-31 against the AL East this season with 17 division games left in the last 27 of the regular season.
The Yankees pitchers were not at their best Saturday, but they gave the Yankees more than a fair chance to win.
Jordan Montgomery had to work hard and wasn’t sharp, but still held the Orioles to one run on six hits and two walks over 4.2 innings. He struck out five. Wandy Peralta, who had been one of the Yankees most reliable relievers over the last month, allowed two runs and just recorded one out before being chased in the seventh.
Chapman, whose own season has been like a rollercoaster of success and failure, put leadoff hitter Ryan Mountcastle on base in the ninth with a wild pitch on strike three. The Orioles first baseman would score the winning run on a sacrifice fly and Chapman took his fourth loss of the season — one shy of his career high.
Facing the worst pitching staff in the big leagues — the Orioles came into the game with a big-league worst 5.78 ERA and .270 batting average against — the Bombers bats were almost completely silent.
Orioles right-handed starter Chris Ellis and reliever Tanner Scott combined to no-hit the Yankees for the first six innings. Gleyber Torres, pinch hitting with runners on the corners and one out in the seventh, “singled,” on an infield ball that was booted to break up the no-hit bid. DJ LeMahieu got on base with a chopped infield single in the eighth and Joey Gallo snapped an 0-for-17 slide with a homer to the short porch in right field to tie the game.
“That was pretty big for me individually, things obviously haven’t been going great for me. But, it’s just kind of part of the game and I kind of am learning how to deal with that and keep pushing every day,” Gallo said of snapping the slide. “So it was good to kind of get a little bit of a result. And in a pretty big situation today. So hopefully, I can build off that.”
The Yankees offense could not build off it.
The Yankees went 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position and stranded five runners.
“I thought in the first and second inning, we had some opportunities there and actually hit the ball well; (Giancarlo Stanton) smoked the ball to the center fielder after (Aaron) Judge (hit a two-base error) and then I thought (Andrew Velazquez had) a good at bat where the next any runner in scoring position lines out to end the inning. So I thought we were having a couple balls that we hit to the fence and stuff. So I thought we were having some decent at-bats against them, but again, just not creating enough traffic against them.”