The New York Yankees have spent much of this year’s season series pounding the Orioles into submission and setting a major league record for home runs at an opposing ballpark, so the fact that they hit another six home runs on Tuesday night shouldn’t have come as much of a surprise.
But on a dark and stormy night at Camden Yards, they not only struck like lightning throughout the evening, they also stole the Orioles’ thunder on the way to a 9-4 victory.
The Yankees made several flashy defensive plays and denied the Orioles enough key hits to make a fairly competitive game look look more like a blowout, especially after they added two superfluous homers in the ninth inning.
Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said afterward that this was another game that showed where the Orioles are — at least from a pitching standpoint ― in relation to the top teams in their division.
“Broken record. ... It sucks,'' he said. “It’s not even their big boys, either, which is pretty scary. They have a ton of power that’s not even in their lineup, and they’ve hit 11 homers in two nights without (Giancarlo) Stanton and Edwin (Encarnacion), and Gleyber (Torres) has got the side issue, so the other guys are hitting homers off our pitchers.
"It shows you how long we have to go to be a competitive team in the American League East and to have the pitching to be able to compete. Their guys are just way better than our guys.”
The game was delayed for 72 minutes by the freaky thunderstorms that drenched the downtown area and the game remained scoreless for two innings before the Yankees opened up on Orioles starter Asher Wojciechowski with three homers in the third inning.
The barrage started with another by No. 9 hitter Mike Tauchman, who continued to give the Orioles fits after homering in his final two at-bats of Monday night’s series opener.
Colorado baseball fans may vaguely remember him from the 52 games he appeared in for the Rockies the past two years. He didn’t make much of an impression because he managed to hit no home runs and drive in just two runs in 69 major league at-bats.
The Yankees obviously saw something in him and are happy they picked him up in a seemingly minor deal last March. He didn’t do much during the first half, but has been one of the hottest hitters in baseball since.
He also doubled home an important insurance run in the seventh inning, but probably caused the Orioles more consternation when he leaped high to rob catcher Pedro Severino of a leadoff home run in the fourth inning.
"He made a great play right there,'' Severino said. “I just tried to put the barrel on the ball and see what happens, and he jumped like Michael Jordan right there. I honestly haven’t seen anybody jump that high at that wall. He did a good job.”
Two innings earlier, Brett Gardner ran a long way to make a leaping catch at the wall that deprived Hanser Alberto of an extra-base hit. Gardner reached above the fence level, but the ball probably would not have cleared the wall in center field.
The Yankees did most of their offensive damage at the bottom of the batting order. Catcher Austin Romine also homered in Monday’s game and was the big bopper Tuesday night, with a home run, two doubles and three RBIs.
Both nights, the Yankees pretty much had their way with the Orioles pitching staff. Seven of the 10 pitchers who have appeared in the series were scored upon and six of them allowed at least one home run.
”Our numbers don’t lie, what we have,'' Hyde said. "We’re setting all kinds of home run given-up records. Our ERAs are unbelievably inflated, and we just have a long way to go. I don’t know what else to say. It’s hard to watch. It’s tough. You do the best you can and try to get guys better, but we’re not close.”