Despite the record number of losses the Orioles have endured this season, there’s one American League park where they will have a winning record in 2018: Yankee Stadium.
They beat the Yankees, 6-3, on Sunday afternoon, ending a six-game road losing streak and avoiding a sweep in this weekend’s three-game series in the Bronx in a game in which they had to account for nine innings out of the bullpen after right-hander Alex Cobb left after just four pitches with a blister on his pitching hand.
The Orioles (45-110) left New York for the final time this season with a 5-4 record at Yankee Stadium. They are 3-23 at other opposing AL East ballparks this season going into their final division road series this week in Boston.
“I mean it’s good to hear,” said Orioles right-hander Mike Wright Jr., the first of five relievers who held the Yankees to just four hits, on the Orioles’ success in the Bronx. “Obviously it’s an AL East opponent and it’s a tough crowd to come play in front of. We battled all year and hopefully we can have more of that moving forward and going into next year.”
The Yankees (95-60) — who clinched a wild-card game berth Saturday night — had just two hits after the first inning.
The Orioles rallied from a three-run first inning deficit, scoring four runs in the sixth inning, three off right-handed reliever A.J. Cole.
Cole allowed two homers in the inning, a game-tying two-run shot by designated hitter Tim Beckham and a go-ahead solo blast by third baseman Renato Núñez.
Beckham recorded his third career multihomer game. His other homer was a solo shot off left-handed starter J.A. Happ in the second inning.
After the Orioles took a 4-3 lead in the sixth on Núñez’s homer — which chased Cole from the game to a chorus of boos from the home crowd — Joey Rickard doubled, moved to third on Austin Wynns’ groundout and scored on pinch hitter DJ Stewart’s sacrifice fly.
Even though this season has been long over, the Orioles hope wins like this over the final week of the season can help build momentum for the future.
It’s huge,” Beckham said. “Baseball is a game of adjustments and you never know. You might click a fastball, and that feeling, it might be the feeling you need to you never know, ride you out for two or three years, or ride you out for the rest of the season. As far as finishing the season strong, it’s huge for all of us. It’s taking momentum for next season and next spring and look to have a good year next year.”
Cobb, who had 11 days off to accommodate his nagging blister problem, didn’t get through his first batter. Four fastballs to Andrew McCutchen into his outing, Cobb walked off the field with assistant athletic trainer Mark Shires.
That put Wright into the game, and he walked the bases loaded, allowed a sacrifice fly by Gleyber Torres and gave up run-scoring singles to Miguel Andújar and Gary Sánchez, giving the Yankees a quick 3-0 lead.
“I mean usually you’re kind of aware whether or not you’re the long guy for the day,” Wright said. “Obviously Alex had issues with his fingers before, so we were kind of on high alert. Once I saw somebody go out, I was pretty much ready to go in the game.”
Wright settled down after that, retiring 10 of 11 after Sánchez’s RBI single.
“Mike’s outing after that kind of put everything back in order a little bit,” Showalter said. “Trying to manage that game and also have your feet on the ground for tomorrow. It’s not like we have an off-day. We knew this stretch of games would be a challenge regardless of how many pitchers we had.”
Right-hander Ryan Meisinger retired all six batters he faced in two perfect innings, and left-handed Tanner Scott struck out Sánchez, pinch hitter Aaron Judge and McCutchen to pitch a scoreless seventh. Cody Carroll worked around a leadoff single by Giancarlo Stanton for a clean eighth inning and closer Mychal Givens — who pitched two scoreless innings in a 24-pitch outing Saturday — retired the Yankees in order in the ninth for his ninth save of the season.
“Yeah, I mean, it’s great,” Wright said. “I mean moving forward that’s our future. They’re in playoff mode. There’s a huge crowd here, lots of adversity. They got leadoff double, couple guys on and they fall through it. We ended up getting the win. That’s huge. Moving into next season like a game like today is what we want our future to look like.”
Said Beckham: “Well, you know, it’s tough, but Mike Wright came in and threw the ball well. I think he really needed that and it gave him a lot of confidence. I don’t know who is going to start from here going out, but I think they’re confident in throwing Mike Wright now. He looked good today and he had everything working for him, so you know that’s a positive we can take out of this situation.”
Valera attempted to score on Jonathan Villar’s grounder to first, but first baseman Neil Walker threw home, and Valera — who slid into the plate headfirst — was out, suffering a fractured left index finger on the play.