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Orioles end 19-game losing streak against Yankees as Ryan Mountcastle paces 6-3 victory

The Orioles have never lost to the New York Yankees when Ryan Mountcastle is in the starting lineup.

Facing a pair of star Yankees pitching prospects, the rookie left fielder provided Baltimore with an early lead and tied the contest during a game-winning rally in the Orioles’ 6-3 victory in the second game of Friday’s doubleheader. The win ended the Orioles’ 19-game losing streak against New York.

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The win also was the Orioles’ first over the Yankees at Camden Yards in 19 games, keeping New York one victory shy of matching the major league record for consecutive wins at an opponent’s venue.

“We’ve had a tough time against them,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “They’re a good club. Game 1 was disappointing because we had opportunities there. We’ve had opportunities in the past, as well. We just hadn’t finished it. Tonight, we finished it.”

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Through 13 games since his promotion from the Orioles’ alternate training site, Mountcastle, Baltimore’s fifth-ranked prospect per Baseball America, is batting .356/.420/.600. After striking out more than five times as often as he walked last year with Triple-A Norfolk, Mountcastle has five walks against 10 strikeouts in the majors.

“I feel like I still have something to prove,” Mountcastle said. “I just like going out there and playing hard every day and working on my craft before the games. I still feel like I can do a little better in some areas, but I’m pretty pleased with how it’s started so far.”

Facing Deivi García, the Yankees’ No. 3 prospect per Baseball America who pitched six one-run innings in his debut Sunday, Mountcastle put the Orioles (17-21) ahead in the second inning with a two-run home run, his first at Camden Yards. As the inning continued, a pair of ballpark staffers combed the left-field seats in pursuit of the ball.

After the Yankees took the lead with three unearned runs off Jorge López, Mountcastle’s fourth-inning infield single flashed his speed but proved fruitless for the Orioles on the scoreboard. Through four innings, García allowed only two hits to Baltimore batters other than Mountcastle.

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“I just love the athleticism he’s showing,” Hyde said. “To jailbreak and beat out that groundball to third base there, he shows you the raw power, he’s playing a nice left field. He’s playing hungry, and it’s really, really fun to watch a young guy come up with hype playing with this much energy and this much confidence. He’s been a big boost, and it’s been a lot of fun to watch him.”

As Mountcastle approached the plate for his next at-bat in the fifth, Yankees manager Aaron Boone pulled García and brought in Clarke Schmidt, New York’s No. 2 prospect, for his major league debut with two on and two out. Mountcastle lined an 0-1 slider into center for a game-tying single, and Rio Ruiz, who homered in the night’s earlier game, followed with a go-ahead single into left. Pat Valaika completed the Orioles’ spoiling efforts against Schmidt with a two-run double.

With the game lasting only seven innings per 2020′s doubleheader rule, César Valdez followed López’s five innings with two scoreless frames to earn his first major league save. Given that the Orioles burned through most of their bullpen in the night’s first game, a 6-5 loss in nine innings, López’s length was much needed.

“I thought he threw the ball great,” Hyde said. “He really should’ve gave up no runs. We didn’t really help him out [defensively]. I thought he did a good job. Would like to see him throw more strikes at times, but put a lot of balls on the ground, was very, very competitive, and I thought he gave us exactly what we needed.”

Making his second start for Baltimore, López struggled with his commands but rarely let it impact his results. He threw a perfect first inning, with the three balls the Yankees put in play coming on a pair of 2-0 counts and a 3-1 count. A two-out infield single in the second accounted for the only blemish against him through two frames.

From there, most imperfections were those of his defense. Tyler Wade singled into left to open the third, and as he advanced on a wild pitch to Thairo Estrada, catcher Pedro Severino threw wildly into the outfield, allowing Wade to take third. Estrada ended the at-bat with a groundball, bringing Wade home.

Despite throwing only half of his 88 pitches for strikes, López issued only one walk. The leadoff free pass to Brett Gardner in the fourth seemed as if it would go unpunished after López retired the next two Yankees, but the Orioles couldn’t convert Miguel Andújar’s two-out grounder into an out. Third baseman Rio Ruiz bounced his throw to first, and Dilson Herrera, making his first major league start, couldn’t pick it, putting both Gardner and Andújar in scoring position. Erik Kratz scored both with a single into left, plating two more unearned runs.

But a scoreless fifth put López in position for the win when Mountcastle and the Orioles’ offense rallied. All three of Mountcastle’s major league home runs have come in López’s two starts.

“He’s going to be a special kid for the Orioles,” López said. “He’s going to do a lot of damage in the future.”

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