The defense behind him made questionable cutoff throws. His catcher missed a pop-up in foul territory. Yet right-hander Mychal Givens shouldered the blame for another Orioles collapse, pointing to his own mistakes.
Given forfeited five runs to blow the save and take the loss in the Orioles’ 10-7 loss to the New York Yankees on Monday night after entering with a two-run lead and four outs to go. Gleyber Torres hit his eighth home run of 2019 on Givens’ first pitch, and with two on in the ninth, Gary Sánchez provided the final margin with a line-drive home run to left.
It marked the first time Givens, the Orioles’ closer, allowed multiple home runs in an outing since Aug. 31, 2017. He had allowed six in the 95 appearances between then and Monday.
“Just didn’t get the job done,” Givens said. “That’s basically it. I put the game on me, and I’ve been in those situations. It’s not like I haven’t been in it before. I just didn’t get the job done.”
After right-hander Shawn Armstrong retired the four men he faced, Orioles manager Brandon Hyde turned to Givens to face Torres, who with a second-inning homer off Andrew Cashner brought his season average against the Orioles to .500. Givens entered the outing in pursuit of his fourth save of more than three outs, which would’ve matched Milwaukee’s Josh Hader for the most in baseball. He started the at-bat with a slider in the strike zone, and Torres took advantage of it for his third multihomer game of the season, with all of them against the Orioles.
“What we shouldn't do is continue to throw strike breaking balls to him early in the count,” Hyde said. “We just have to do a better job of pitching to him. There's no doubt about it, but Givens — I like the matchup there. He just threw a strike slider that he hit out to left-center. We've just got to make better pitches against him.”
Givens nearly faced Torres again in the ninth as the Yankees sent seven batters to the plate. With the Orioles still up a run, Brett Gardner and Cameron Maybin began the inning with singles. On the latter, right fielder Joey Rickard threw to third directly to try to catch Gardner advancing, bypassing his cutoff man as Maybin, the potential go-ahead run, moved to second.
A grounder by DJ LeMahieu to third led to no movement and gave Givens the first out of the ninth, but Aaron Hicks followed with a lofty fly to left. Gardner scored to tie the game and left-fielder Dwight Smith Jr. also elected to skip the cutoff man, putting Maybin at third.
Givens seemed positioned to send the game to the bottom of the ninth tied when Luke Voit hit a high pop-up behind home plate, but the ball fell carelessly behind catcher Pedro Severino. Givens couldn’t finish off Voit, who walked, before Sanchez hammered his decisive homer on a 1-1 fastball.
Givens had no interest in placing blame on Severino after the game.
“No, it’s still my fault,” Givens said. “You can’t get down on something like that, and that happens. That’s baseball. I should get the job done and get us in the dugout and everybody shaking hands, but I just need to do a better job, getting the leadoff guy and executing pitches.”
Torres’ home run ended scoreless May for Givens, who had not allowed a run in 7 2/3 innings across six appearances. Although the solo shot provided an ominous start to Givens’ eventually disastrous outing, Hyde said he would send his prime reliever out in the same situation the next time he gets the chance.
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“I'll take a two-run lead with Mychal Givens in the game and four outs to go every night of the week when he's available,” Hyde said. “He has been lights-out for us, and he was probably due for a hiccup. Unfortunately, tonight was one of them. We didn't help him out, also, and I mean, Mike's not going to be perfect down there. And he's been almost perfect so far this year. Tonight, it just didn't happen.”