There’s once again a tie atop the AL East standings.
The Orioles used six homers, including two more from Mark Reynolds, to ward off a big eighth-inning comeback and beat the Yankees 10-6 on Thursday.
The Bombers scored five times in the top of the eighth without the benefit of a homer to even the game up at 6, but the Orioles roared right back with three homers in the bottom of the frame. Two of them came off David Robertson, who failed to get an out and took the loss to drop to 1-6 on the year.
It was the Orioles’ first six-homer game since Aug. 28, 2007 against the Rays.
Reynolds’ two-homer game was his third in a week against the Yankees, as he also went deep twice in wins at Yankee Stadium on Friday and Sunday. He joins Hall of Famer Hank Greenberg as just the second player ever to have three two-homer games against the Yankees in the same season. Greenberg did it for the Tigers in 1938.
Also going yard for the Orioles were Matt Wieters, Robert Andino, Adam Jones and Chris Davis. Jones had the tiebreaker in the bottom of the eighth, making it a 7-6 game. Reynolds and Davis later went back-to-back in the frame.
Reynolds also homered twice against the Blue Jays this week, so he has eight home runs in his last seven games. He had just 12 in 103 games through Aug. 30.
The Yankees and Orioles are set for three more games at Camden Yards, so barring a rainout, the tie atop the standings won’t survive the weekend. Phil Hughes and Wei-Yin Chen will battle in Friday’s game.
Around this time last year, the ink was drying on Manny Machado‘s 10-year, $300 million contract with the Padres and Bryce Harper was about to put the finishing touches on his 13-year, $330 million deal with the Phillies. We had gotten used to premier free agents hanging out in limbo until late February and even into March. This past offseason, however, was a return to normal. The top three free agents — Gerrit Cole, Anthony Rendon, and Stephen Strasburg — all signed in December. Once the big names are off the board, the lesser free agents subsequently tend to find homes. There were a handful of noteworthy signings in January, but pretty much everyone was off the board when February began.
There are a handful of free agents remaining as I write this, with one name really sticking out: Yasiel Puig. Last season, between the Reds and Indians, Puig hit .267/.327/.458 with 24 home runs, 84 RBI, 76 runs scored, and 19 stolen bases in 611 plate appearances. He was one of only seven players in the league last year to hit at least 24 home runs and swipe at least 19 bases. While Puig has had some problems over the years, he still possesses a rare blend of power and speed that would seem useful.
The Marlins, White Sox, and Rockies have been linked to Puig this offseason. His market has been otherwise quiet since he became a free agent. The Athletic’s Jim Bowden suggests Puig will have to settle for a “pillow contract” — a one-year deal with which Puig reestablishes his market value, aiming to pursue a multi-year deal the following offseason. Along with the aforementioned three teams, Bowden suggests the Mariners, Indians, Pirates, Giants, Red Sox, and Cardinals as other teams that could potentially fit with Puig, which is not to be confused with teams having expressed interest in his services.