Saturday, September 13, 2014

Game of the Day (9/12/14)

Orioles 2, Yankees 1 (11). New York's Brandon McCarthy and Baltimore's Kevin Gausman are both midseason additions to their respective rotations - but joined them in very different ways. McCarthy, a 30-year-old veteran, was acquired by trade, while Gausman, aged 23, was summoned from the minors.

Both starters were highly effective in the early going. Martin Prado singled in the top of the first, as did Alejandro de Aza in the bottom; JJ Hardy picked up a hit in the home second, and Jacoby Ellsbury matched him in the visiting third, and nobody else reached base in the first three innings. Brian McCann drew a fourth-inning walk, but was removed on a double play, and McCarthy struck out the side in the bottom of the inning.

A runner finally reached scoring position in the top of the fifth, courtesy of singles by JR Murphy and Antoan Richardson, but Ellsbury lined out to leave them at first and second. McCarthy was spotless again in the bottom of the fifth, and the Yanks tried again in the sixth, as a Prado single and a Chris Young double put runners at second and third with two outs. Stephen Drew walked to load the bases, and Murphy fouled out to strand all three runners. McCarthy allowed a De Aza single and nothing else in the bottom of the inning. Richardson singled and was picked off in the seventh, and nobody else for either team reached base at all.

Andrew Miller relieved Gausman in the top of the eighth, and set the Yankees down 1-2-3. McCarthy gave up a leadoff double to Kelly Johnson in the bottom of the inning and was pulled for Dellin Betances. Nick Hundley bunted, and the Yankees tried and failed to get the lead runner, putting men at the corners with nobody out. Jonathan Schoop whiffed for the first out, and Nick Markakis grounded to second, with Johnson getting caught off of third and thrown out. De Aza walked to load the bases, and Adam Jones struck out to leave them that way. Darren O'Day worked a spotless ninth, and Betances issued a one-out walk to Steve Pearce before being pulled in the bottom of the inning; David Robertson allowed pinch runner Quintin Berry to steal second, intentionally walked Hardy, drew a foulout from Johnson, walked Hundley to load the bases, and struck out Schoop to send the game to extras in a scoreless tie.

Zach Britton took the mound in the top of the tenth; Richardson worked him for a one-out walk, moved to second on a groundout, and stole third, only to be left there when Prado flied out. Robertson then kept the bases Oriole-free in the bottom of the inning. Brad Brach threw the eleventh for Baltimore, and after two quick outs, allowed a Young homer that represented the game's first run. Adam Warren took over for the bottom of the inning and walked Nelson Cruz to start it; Ryan Flaherty bunted pinch runner David Lough to second, Hardy was hit by a pitch, Johnson struck out, and pinch hitter Steve Clevenger walked to load the bases. Jimmy Paredes then hit for Schoop, and smacked a come-from-behind walkoff two-run double on the first pitch he saw.

Excellent starting pitching. Significant scoring threats on both sides in the mid-to-late innings. A go-ahead homer in extras, and an eleventh-inning comeback capped by easily the biggest hit to date in the career of a minor-so-far player. And all of it coming in a September game between a team that's almost certainly going to the postseason, and a team that still conceivably could.

I feel pretty comfortable in calling that a satisfying baseball experience. Especially because the Yankees lost.

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