Sometimes three runs is enough. The Yankees jumped out to an early lead then held on for dear life on Saturday afternoon, beating the Orioles by the score of 3-2. Let’s recap their first win of the series:
- Three-Run Third: The Yankees had four hits all game and three came in the span of four batters in the third inning. Brian McCann hit a solo homer, Mark Teixeira drew a walk, Chris Young doubled, and Antoan Richardson singled in Teixeira. Young then stole home when Richardson stole second and rookie catcher Caleb Joseph tried to throw him out. There’s all three runs and three of the four hits on the afternoon. Good thing they bunched the hits together.
- Greene Grinds: Shane Greene really had to work on Saturday, especially early. Seven of the first 15 Orioles reached base but that only led to one run, on Nelson Cruz’s single to center in the third. Greene had to throw 71 pitches in those first three innings, but he shook it off to retire eight of the final nine batters he faced on 41 pitches. He struck out five of those final nine hitters and had nine strikeouts in the game overall. Two runs on seven hits and one walk in 5.1 innings isn’t particularly pretty, especially when you throw 112 total pitches, but Greene showed some moxie and found a way to grind through it.
- Bullpen: With Dellin Betances unavailable to due to his multi-inning appearance on Friday, Joe Girardi had to mix and match for those final eleven outs. Esmil Rogers got three outs (line out, strikeout, walk, sac bunt), Josh Outman got two outs (fly out, ground out), Shawn Kelley got three outs (single, fly out, two ground outs), and David Robertson got the final three outs (single, sac bunt, two ground outs). I didn’t expect Robertson to be available after throwing a season-high 35 pitches in 1.2 innings on Friday, but there he was. Maybe they’re just getting their money’s worth before he hits free agency this winter.
- Leftovers: Derek Jeter went 0-for-3 with a walk and is in an ugly 0-20 slump. He is down to .251/.300/.300 (68 wRC+) on the season. The end of this Hall of Fame career has been far from pretty … the only non-third inning base hit was Martin’s Prado infield single in the eighth. Jeter, Brett Gardner, McCann, and Teixeira (two) each drew walks. The wrap-around 9-1-2-3 portion of the lineup went a combined 0-for-14 with two walks … the Yankees beat the Orioles for the first time in six tries and only the fourth time in 14 games this season. With the win, New York can not be eliminated from the AL East race this series.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs some other stats, and ESPN the updated standings. The Yankees are currently 4.5 games back of the second wildcard spot and they could end the day four games back depending on the other games tonight. The top of the wildcard race is bonkers right now. FanGraphs puts New York’s postseason odds at 0.7% with 14 games to go. Hiroki Kuroda and Chris Tillman will be the pitching matchup in Sunday night’s finale. Yes, it is the ESPN game.