The Yankees earned their 37th comeback win of the season on Monday afternoon against the Orioles, thanks to the heroics of the two youngest guys in the lineup (John Ryan Murphy and Greg Bird) plus some help from the oldest guy in the lineup (Alex Rodriguez).
A-Rod sliced the O’s lead to 4-3 in the fifth inning with a solo homer before Murphy’s two-run shot later in the inning gave the Yankees a 5-4 lead. Murphy finished the game 2 for 4, raising his batting average against the Orioles this season to .529 (9 for 17), the second-highest by any player (min. 15 at-bats).
After Manny Machado evened the game at 5-5 in the seventh inning, Bird responded in the bottom of the frame with a tie-breaking three-run blast that ended up as the game-winner. Before Bird, the last Yankee first baseman with a go-ahead homer in the seventh inning or later against the Orioles at Yankee Stadium was Don Mattingly on Aug. 31, 1993.
Dellin Betances is no stranger to doing amazing things on the mound, but his 27-pitch performance was more weird than spectacular. He faced six batters in the eighth inning, walking three and striking out three without giving up a run. Betances is the only Yankee reliever in the Divisional Era (since 1969) to put together an inning with at least three strikeouts, three walks and no runs allowed.
There are ugly wins and there are ugly losses … and Tuesday’s game definitely qualifies as the latter. Masahiro Tanaka delivered one of his best performances of the season, but the Yankees managed just six hits (five singles) and went 0-for-3 with runners in scoring position, resulting in a rare loss for the Yankees in a game where their starter was so brilliant.
This is the first time the Yankees lost a game in which their starting pitcher went at least eight innings, allowed no more than one run and struck out at least 10 batters since Aug. 24, 1990. Tim Leary was the unlucky guy in that l-0 loss to the Brewers more than 25 years ago.
The offense was brutal aside from the bat of Alex Rodriguez, who reached yet another milestone when he sent a 98 mph fastball over the fences in the sixth inning to tie the game at 1-1. That pitch was the fastest one he’s ever homered against since Pitch F/X tracking began in 2008.
It was also his 30th homer of the season and the 15th time in his career he’s reached that mark, tying Hank Aaron for the most 30-homer seasons in MLB history. And, at the age of 40 years and 43 days, he became the second-oldest player to hit his 30th homer of the season. Only Darrell Evans (40 years and 115 days) was older than A-Rod at the time he hit No. 30 in 1987.
The Yankees certainly gave their fans plenty to boo about on Wednesday night, dropping the rubber game of this series against the sub-.500 Orioles thanks to some sloppy defense and yet another listless performance by the offense.
Carlos Beltran was the only Yankee who could solve the Orioles’ enigmatic starter Ubaldo Jimenez. Beltran was 2 for 3 against Jimenez, driving in all three of the Yankees runs; Jimenez held the rest of the Yankees lineup to just two hits in his seven innings of work. Beltran is now 9 for 23 (.391) against Jimenez, the highest batting average by any player that has faced him at least 25 times.
Beltran’s solo homer in the bottom of the first inning — his 15th of the season — tied the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the first inning. That blast gave him 10 career seasons with at least 15 home runs and 30 doubles, matching Chipper Jones for the most such seasons all-time among switch hitters.