The last time the Orioles faced New York Yankees right-hander Michael Pineda, he made easy work of their offense. He struck out 16 batters — the most by an opposing pitcher in a nine-inning game in Orioles franchise history — and walked none against them May 10 at Yankee Stadium.
In Friday's series opener, the Orioles' rematch with Pineda ended much differently — with their second-most lopsided win of the season in an 11-3 rout of the division-leading Yankees in front of an announced 33,203 at Camden Yards.
The Orioles put together one of their best offensive performances of the season, chasing Pineda from the game after just 4 1/3 innings, his shortest outing of the season.
The Orioles' 11 runs Friday were their second-most of the season, behind their output in an 18-7 win over the Boston Red Sox on April 26. Every Orioles starter recorded at least one hit in their 16-hit attack.
“We're definitely swinging the bats well,” said Orioles first baseman Chris Davis, who homered and drove in a season-high four runs. “I think it's big for us to go up there and continue to have great at-bats, not just go up there hacking, but really have an approach, have a plan and stick to it, and I think that's going to pay off over the course of the season. I know a lot of guys in the lineup like to be aggressive, but at the same time you've got to be aggressive in the strike zone, and I think we've been doing that lately.”
The Orioles (30-30), winners of a season-high five straight and seven of their last eight, reached the .500 mark for the first time since they were 12-12 on May 5. They also pulled to within three games of the Yankees in the American League East.
The Yankees (33-27) didn't look much like a first-place team, committing two errors — both eventually costing a run. The Yankees also yielded one run on a wild pitch and allowed a catchable fly ball in right-center field to drop between two outfielders.
“The sum of all parts are finally starting to kind of click,” said catcher Caleb Joseph, who was 3-for-4, including a homer. “We got a lot of big contributions from a lot people in here. We got some additions and got some more coming as well. There was no panic button ever from the first week of the season to the first month. Guys in this clubhouse, a lot of them have been through this rigorous season and especially last year we started out kind of the same. Right about now is right when we started taking off and we feel confident about who we have in the clubhouse.”
Davis capped a four-run third inning with his 13th homer of the season, a three-run shot that landed on the flag court over the right-field fence. Davis, who talked about the importance of not letting Pineda get ahead in the count before the game, jumped on a 1-0 hanging slider from the Yankees starter.
Friday marked Davis' first four-RBI game since Aug. 29, 2014.
Joseph hit his fifth homer of the season in the sixth, a solo blast off Yankees left-handed reliever Jacob Lindgren. After three hits Friday, Joseph is 14-for-25 with five extra-base hits (two doubles, one triple and two homers) and five RBIs in seven games against the Yankees this season.
Jimmy Paredes broke out of his slump with a three-hit game, including an RBI single in the fourth inning. Paredes had just four hits in his previous 41 at-bats, hitting .098 with 20 strikeouts over his 11 games before Friday.
Orioles starter Ubaldo Jimenez (4-3) notched his first win in six starts, allowing three runs on six hits over five innings plus one batter.
Jimenez escaped a bases-loaded jam with no outs in the first inning. After allowing back-to-back singles to Brett Gardner and Chase Headley to open the game, Jimenez walked Alex Rodriguez to fill the bases.
Although it took 27 pitches, Jimenez pulled off a brilliant escape, inducing a popup from Mark Teixeira, striking out Brian McCann and getting an inning-ending flyout from Carlos Beltran.
“That was the key to the game,” Showalter said. “It's a real momentum turner. We come in and score. That's one you kind of look back on.”
Said Jimenez: “It feels good because every time I'm out there, I'm trying to minimize the damage, so you know there's still a lot of game left. You have to be happy to get out of the inning, but you still have to go out there and pitch and do whatever you have to do.”
Pineda, who entered the night with an eye-popping 10.86 strikeout-to-walk ratio to lead the league, walked the first batter he faced, Manny Machado. Three batters later, Davis roped a 1-0 hanging slider off the right-field wall to drive in Machado.
Davis said watching Jimenez work his way out of the early jam boosted the offense.
“Man, that was huge, especially to start the game off like that, and then to hang in there and battle and really give us a chance,” Davis said. “It was kind of weird because you would think the momentum was in their dugout, but [to] shut them down right there kind of put it in back in our dugout. And then to go back out there and score runs for him was big. I think he probably wanted to go a little deeper tonight. He did a great job of battling and keeping us in the game.”
In the third, the first four Orioles reached base. Machado reached on a Headley fielding error, followed by Paredes' single and Adam Jones' RBI single, setting the stage for Davis' three-run homer off Pineda.
"He didn't quite have the command he had last time,” Showalter said of Pineda. “He's got great stuff. Guys put some good swings on mistakes he did make. He was real close to having some counts in his favor. I think the command was a little bit off. He was just barely missing. Those pitches were borderline pitches either called strikes or they weren't. He's pretty good. We were real fortunate."
Yankees center fielder Mason Williams, making his major league debut, cut the lead to 4-3 in the fourth with a two-run homer off Jimenez for his first major league hit.
After Joseph opened the sixth with a homer off Lindgren, Machado singled off reliever Esmil Rogers. Paredes hit a grounder to Teixeira at first, but the Severna Park native sailed the throw to second over shortstop Didi Gregorius into left field, putting runners at the corners with no outs. Teixeira's error ended his career-high 109-game errorless streak.
Machado scored on a wild pitch by Rogers, and three batters later, J.J. Hardy's double plated Paredes. Travis Snider drove in Hardy with an RBI single later in the inning.
The win was manager Buck Showalter's 407th with the Orioles, tying Hank Bauer for third-most in franchise history.