JAKE SEINER, AP Baseball Writer
Created: April 07, 2021 11:15 PM
NEW YORK (AP) - Orioles right fielder Anthony Santander threw out Gio Urshela trying to score on a fly ball in the 11th, moments after pinch-hitter Chance Sisco's go-ahead single in the top of the inning, and Baltimore beat the New York Yankees 4-3 Wednesday night.
Brett Gardner bunted Urshela, the automatic runner, to third to open the inning. DJ LeMahieu then ripped a liner to right. Santander set his feet, caught it and delivered a perfect throw home, a couple steps ahead of Urshela, who slid face first into catcher Pedro Severino's tag.
It was the second laser home from Santander in the game, but he'd come up just short trying to get Tyler Wade in the 10th. Santander also homered in the fifth.
Sisco’s one-out hit off Chad Green (0-1) scored Rio Ruiz from third following a sacrifice bunt by Freddy Galvis. It was Baltimore’s first hit since the fifth inning and its fourth total - New York had 13, but only three with runners in scoring position.
César Valdez (1-0), working primarily with a 76 mph changeup, pitched 2 1/3 innings and got Baltimore through the 10th. Paul Fry got his first save, ending a 3-hour, 54-minute night.
Prior to Sisco's hit, New York relievers pitched six perfect innings - except for shortstop Gleyber Torres' costly throwing error - following a sharp pinstripe debut for Jameson Taillon, who started for the first time in 707 days.
Both teams scored in the 10th. Torres bounced a ball to first base with two outs, a throwing error that let the automatic runner score. His throw skipped past first baseman Jay Bruce on a grounder by the slow-footed Severino, allowing Anthony Santander to score from third. Torres has two errors this season after tying for the AL lead among shortstops with nine last year.
In the bottom of the inning, Kyle Higashioka scored pinch-runner Wade from second with a sharp single to right - Wade slickly slid around Severino, touching his left hand on the plate as he went by.
The Orioles dropped the series’ first two games after winning three straight in Boston to open the season. This win ended a franchise-record 12-game skid at Yankee Stadium and improved the club to 4-25 in its past 29 against New York.
Cedric Mullins and Santander homered for Baltimore in the fifth, accounting for two of its three hits prior to the 11th. Baltimore struck out 17 times, bringing its total to 44 for the series.
Urshela rallied New York with a tying double in the eighth inning, scoring pinch-runner Mike Tauchman from first. Urshela appeared shaken up after sliding into Severino in the 11th.
Yankees slugger Aaron Judge was held out of New York’s lineup with soreness in his left side a night after he had a homer, three hits and four RBIs against Baltimore. The Yankees are off on Thursday, giving the right fielder two days to rest.
Mullins has hit safely in each of Baltimore’s first six games, going 12 for 25.
Baltimore left-hander John Means surrendered a run over 4 2/3 innings, his sixth straight start allowing one-or-fewer runs. That matched Hall of Famer Jim Palmer for the longest such streak with Baltimore. Means gave up seven hits and two walks and struck out four.
Taillon struck out seven, allowing three hits and no walks - he only faced a trio three-ball counts out of 17 batters.
The right-hander hadn’t pitched since May 1, 2019 - then with Pittsburgh - due to a second Tommy John surgery. Momentous comebacks are hardly new for the 29-year-old. His career was also slowed by a hernia operation in 2015 and surgery to treat testicular cancer in 2017. Additionally, he was hit in the head by a line drive in April 2019, although he remained in the game.
He was able to ease back in against Baltimore, which hadn’t even homered yet this season until the ninth inning of Tuesday’s loss to the Yankees. He pitched three perfect innings before the O’s started connecting in the fourth. Mullins and Santander each hit solo shots, putting Baltimore ahead 2-1.
EASY DOES IT
Gary Sánchez - criticized often by Yankees fans for a perceived lack of focus and refinement as a catcher - was nearly thrown out going from first to second on Urshela's hard single to right in the fourth. Sánchez jogged easily toward second and had to speed up when right fielder Santander whipped the ball to second.
Sánchez also jogged out of the box on a hard line drive to left in the eighth and ended up with a single when Ryan Mountcastle dropped the ball. Tauchman pinch-ran and scored on Urshela's hit, diving across home just ahead of the relay from left-center field.
Yankees players, coaches, field and support staff were vaccinated at the stadium Wednesday. The team didn't disclose how many players were inoculated, but manager Aaron Boone said before the game he anticipated the team easily clearing the 85% threshold mandated by Major League Baseball for teams to begin easing certain health and safety protocols.
Orioles: Manager Brandon Hyde said OF DJ Stewart (left hamstring strain) is making progress but doesn't have a projected return date yet.
Yankees: 2B Rougned Odor wasn’t in uniform Wednesday, a day after being acquired from the Texas Rangers. ... LHP Justin Wilson (shoulder soreness) is expected to be activated when he’s eligible on Friday. Until then, New York will carry only 25 players.
Orioles: RHP Matt Harvey (0-0, 3.86) gets the ball in Baltimore's home opener against Boston. The Red Sox will start LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (19-6, 3.81 in ’19), pitching for the first time since missing last season with a COVID-19-related heart condition.
Yankees: Hope to get Judge back Friday at Tampa Bay. RHP Corey Kluber (0-0, 2.25) makes his second start for New York, facing Rays veteran LHP Rich Hill (0-0, 9.00).
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