The Orioles’ 8-2 loss to the New York Yankees on Friday night was more dramatic than most games between these teams at Yankee Stadium this season, but then again, that’s not saying much given their previous three games in the Bronx were essentially over by the second inning.
The Orioles hoped to catch the Yankees off guard by starting right-hander Gabriel Ynoa (1-2) – and also because the Yankees (81-66) seemed to have had their way with every other starting option but right-hander Dylan Bundy.
The Orioles had been outscored 17-0 in the first inning in their previous three games at Yankee Stadium – allowing a six-run opening frame in Thursday’s series opener. But Friday night’s game ended as most have this season in New York, with the Orioles outplayed by the Yankees in every facet.
The Yankees have scored 89 runs in eight games against the Orioles in the Bronx.
The Orioles (72-76) have now lost eight of their past nine games overall – and have dropped seven of eight this season at Yankee Stadium – falling to four games under .500 for the first time since Aug. 22.
Ynoa received a quick hook, removed from a tied game after issuing a one-out walk in the fifth after just 64 pitches, only able to watch as his replacement, right-hander Miguel Castro, gave up a two-run homer to shortstop Didi Gregorius.
“They squared him up a lot,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “He was fortunate. Didn’t give in. His slider was there for him some. Command of fastball was a challenge for him. He gave us a chance. It was a good experience for him. The guys that were coming up that inning were all on him pretty good, but I’ll take the end result as opposed to really … He was challenged a little bit. That’s a good lineup, but he got away with some things that were hit at people.”
The Orioles didn’t muster much offensively against Yankees right-hander Luis Severino (13-6), their only runs in eight innings against him coming on Welington Castillo’s opposite-field two-run homer to right in the second inning.
Castillo’s homer gave the Orioles a 2-1 lead, a cushion Ynoa would give up in the second on Chris Davis’ fielding error on a ball to first base off the bat of Greg Bird.
Still, Ynoa pitched well in his second Orioles start, allowing two earned runs to a Yankees offense that had scored in double digits five times in the first seven meetings between the teams in New York.
“I think I pitched well,” Ynoa said through translator Ramón Alarcón. “I think I did a good job.”
Ynoa didn’t question getting pulled from the game in the fifth by Showalter.
“I was not surprised,” he said. “It’s basically the manager’s decision, so it was really up to him.”
Overall, the Orioles’ play was uninspired. The Yankees’ three-run seventh inning was fueled by Jonathan Schoop’s fielding error and a hanging flare off the bat of Gary Sánchez that right fielder Mark Trumbo let fall, allowing a run to score.
Castro, who has earned Showalter’s trust in the middle innings with men on, allowed a tiebreaking two-run homer to Gregorius on the second batter he faced after relieving Ynoa.
He entered the night having allowed just one home run in his previous 14 outings dating to Aug. 1, a span of 30 1/3 innings.
After Gregorius was late on a first-pitch 95 mph sinker from Castro, he caught up with a hanging 86 mph slider, sending it over the right-center-field fence to give the Yankees a 4-2 lead.
“That’s unfortunate,” Showalter said. “They’re all the right pitch if you get them in the right place. Some just have a better percentage in your favor because of somebody’s tendency in you get the ball in the right place, but it seemed like every time we missed a spot, they’ve really been on it.”
No major league reliever has more innings since the All-Star break than Castro. After throwing 1 2/3 innings Friday, he has 42 2/3 innings in the second half. No other reliever had more than 33 2/3 over that span entering Friday. While he had a remarkable 1.96 ERA over his first 18 outings after the break, he has allowed runs in each of his past four outings.
After allowing three runs (two earned) Friday, Castro has given up six earned runs over his past four games spanning six innings.
Orioles can’t solve Severino
The Orioles had just three hits against Severino, their last hit of the game coming on Pedro Álvarez’s two-out double in the fifth.
It marked another moribund offensive performance, as the Orioles have scored three runs or fewer in eight of their past nine games.
“He’s tough,” Castillo said. “He’s got a plus fastball and a plus slider. You’ve just got to go out there and wait for one pitch and not try to miss it because he doesn’t make many mistakes.”
Severino is 3-0 with a 2.73 ERA in four starts against the Orioles this season.