Jim Johnson Matt Wieters

Orioles top Yankees in 13 innings, ALDS moves to a decisive Game 5


We will have four Game Fives in division series play this year for the first time ever.

The Orioles defeated the Yankees 2-1 in 13 innings tonight at Yankee Stadium to keep their season alive and force a decisive fifth game tomorrow afternoon.

The Orioles grabbed an early 1-0 lead when Nate McLouth hit a solo homer off Phil Hughes in the fifth inning, but the Yankees evened things up in the bottom of the sixth on an RBI ground out by Robinson Cano. The game remained tied all the way until J.J. Hardy delivered an RBI double off David Phelps in the top of the 13th inning.

Joe Saunders was shaky, yet effective for the Orioles, allowing one run on three hits and four walks over 5 2/3 innings. But the members of Buck Showalter’s bullpen were the real heroes on this night, as they held the Yankees scoreless for 7 1/3 innings while giving up just four hits and one walk. Darren O’Day came up huge yet again, this time tossing 2 2/3 shutout frames. Pedro Strop struck out two over two scoreless innings in his first appearance of the series while Jim Johnson tossed a perfect bottom of the 13th for the save.

Derek Jeter went 2-for-6 and Jayson Nix went 2-for-3, but the rest of the Yankees were a collective 3-for-35. Curtis Granderson went 0-for-5 with three strikeouts and is now hitting .063 (1-for-16) with nine strikeouts in the series. Alex Rodriguez went 1-for-4 with a walk and two strikeouts and was removed for a pinch-hitter in the second straight game. He’s 2-for-16 with nine strikeouts in the series. We may see an interesting lineup for the Yankees tomorrow with the season on the line.

The Yankees will send their ace C.C Sabathia to hill tomorrow while Jason Hammel will pitch for the Orioles. First pitch will be 5:07 p.m. ET. The winners will advance to face the Tigers in the ALCS.

There’s no one to blame in Yankees’ loss

Joe Girardi
1 Comment

You’re going to boo All-Star Brett Gardner for striking out against a Cy Young contender?

You’re going to bash Alex Rodriguez for going hitless in another postseason game, three years after his last one?

Maybe you’d prefer to put it all on Masahiro Tanaka for giving up two solo homers to a lineup full of 20-homer guys?

The truth is that the Yankees were supposed to lose tonight. They were facing an outstanding left-hander with their forever-lefty-heavy lineup, and they simply didn’t have anyone pitching like an ace to set themselves up nicely for a one-game, winner-take-all showdown. The 3-0 result… well, that’s how this was supposed to go down.

It didn’t necessarily mean it would; what fun would it be if the better team always won? And the Astros might not even be a better team than the Yankees. However, the Astros with Dallas Keuchel on the mound were certainly a better team than the Yankees with whoever they picked to throw.

I just don’t see where it’s worth putting any blame tonight. Joe Girardi? He could have started John Ryan Murphy over Brian McCann against the tough lefty, but he wasn’t willing to risk Tanaka losing his comfort zone by using a backup catcher.

The front office could have added more talent, perhaps outbidding the Blue Jays for David Price or the Royals for Johnny Cueto, and set themselves up better for the postseason. However, that would have cost them Luis Severino and/or Greg Bird, both of whom went on to play key roles as the Yankees secured the wild card. Would it really have been worth it? I don’t think so.

Tanaka gave the Yankees what they should have expected. Had Keuchel’s stuff been a little off on short rest, Tanaka’s performance would have kept the Yankees in the game.

Keuchel, though, was on his game from the first pitch. The Astros bullpen might have been a bit more vulnerable, and late at-bats from Gardner, Carlos Beltran, Rodriguez and McCann definitely left something to be desired. Still, on the whole, the lack of offense was quite a team effort.

The Yankees got beat by a better team tonight.  I’m not sure the Astros would have been better in Games 2-7 in a longer series, but they had everything in their favor in this one.

Keuchel, Astros cruise past Yankees in AL Wild Card Game

AP Photo/Kathy Willens

Dallas Keuchel faced the Yankees two times during the regular season and was fantastic in each outing, striking out 12 in a complete-game shutout on June 25 and whiffing nine batters over seven scoreless frames on August 25.

The 2015 Cy  Young Award candidate continued that trend in Tuesday night’s American League Wild Card Game, limiting the Yankees to three hits and one walk over six innings of scoreless ball as the Astros earned a 3-0 win and advanced to a best-of-five ALDS with the top-seeded Royals.

Keuchel was working on three days of rest but didn’t show very many signs of fatigue, whiffing seven and needing only 87 pitches to get through six. He sure looked like he could have gone an inning longer, but Astros manager A.J. Hinch decided to turn the game over to his bullpen and they added three more big zeroes to the scoreboard at a very loud then very boo-heavy Yankee Stadium. Tony Sipp worked around some early jitters to throw a scoreless seventh, Will Harris kept the Yankees off the bases entirely in a scoreless eighth, and closer Luke Gregerson went 1-2-3 in the bottom of the ninth.

Impending free agent outfielder Colby Rasmus provided the first burst of offense for the Astros in the top of the second inning with a leadoff homer against Masahiro Tanaka. And then deadline acquisition Carlos Gomez, who missed a bunch of time down the stretch with an intercostal strain, got to Tanaka for another solo shot in the top of the fourth. Houston scored its third run on a Jose Altuve RBI single in the top of the seventh.

This is a young, talented Astros team with an ace at the head of its rotation.

Kansas City could have a problem.