In the final game of their four-game series against the Orioles on Thursday afternoon, the New York Yankees went with a kinder, gentler starting lineup than the one that had showered Camden Yards with home runs the previous three nights.
Manager Aaron Boone held Gleyber Torres and Gary Sánchez out after they had combined for seven of their team’s 11 home runs in those first three games, but it wasn’t an intentional act of mercy. It was just a day game after a night game.
It also didn’t make much difference, at least in the win column.
The Yankees still added two more homers and staved off a late Orioles comeback bid on the way to a series-sweeping 6-5 victory before an announced 30,624.
So the beating goes on. The victory extended the Yankees’ winning streak at Oriole Park to 12 and dropped the Orioles’ record to 15-35 this season, which has them on pace to lose 113 games.
That’s pretty much what everyone has been led to expect for this rebuilding club, but it doesn’t make it any less painful for the players and their fans.
Manager Brandon Hyde praised his team for not letting the American League East division leaders knock the wind out of them with what would end up being a 13-homer barrage over the course of the series, but acknowledged that the tough losses are wearing on him.
“Obviously the competitive part of me, these are tough, these are hard,’’ Hyde said. “It’s not easy to go home at the end of the day. But you just try to find the positives and we are doing some good things. We’re just playing really good clubs and we’re just a little short.”
Orioles starter Dylan Bundy carried a shutout into the fifth inning, but the Yankees scored in every inning from that point on. He allowed a solo homer to outfielder Clint Frazier in the fifth and a tie-breaking two-run single to third baseman Gio Urshela before leaving with two outs in the sixth, but was not involved in the decision.
“Pretty good up until the sixth inning,’’ Bundy said. “Tried to bury a slider, and left it up and [Urshela] was able to get two runs in, but felt good, same thing as last outing with all my pitches.”
The Orioles, who failed to take advantage of a struggling Masahiro Tanaka during the early innings, staged a dramatic comeback to erase a four-run lead in the eighth, only to have reliever Mychal Givens walk in a run in the ninth to get the loss.
As it turned out, Torres and Sánchez would still play a big role in the Yankees’ victory.
Torres came up as a pinch hitter with two outs and the bases empty in the ninth and walked. Sánchez followed him to the plate and delivered an opposite-field pinch-hit single, and things went south from there.
Givens walked DJ LeMahieu and went 3-0 on the count to Aaron Hicks, then battled back to a full count before walking him to bring home the go-ahead run. It was the second time in the series that Givens faltered, though certainly not as dramatically as he did Monday night, when he entered the series opener in the eighth inning with a two-run lead and allowed five runs over the next 1 1/3 innings.
“I didn’t get the job done,’’ Givens said. “I think I made good pitches and they’re good hitters. I walked Gleyber on a good pitch and Gary got a bloop single. Things just didn’t go my way."
Tanaka ran up his pitch count in the early innings and found himself in a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the second inning, but the Orioles could manage just one run when Richie Martin grounded into a fielder’s choice and beat out the double-play relay to first.
That was all there was until Trey Mancini singled home a run with no outs in the bottom of the eighth and Renato Núñez launched his 10th home run of the season, a three-run shot that evened things up.
“That’s an excellent, excellent bullpen and I’m happy with how we came back,’’ Hyde said. “We’re developing in a lot of ways and we’re giving guys a lot of opportunities. We’re in a mode right now of let’s see what we have and the next thing is developing to win and winning close games.”