Yankees fans came to the Bronx on Monday night to see the team’s two new marquee additions, Anthony Rizzo and Joey Gallo.
They also got to see Andrew Heaney, a lefthanded starting pitcher the Yankees acquired from the Angels just before Friday’s trade deadline.
The fans didn’t like what they saw from Heaney, who allowed four solo home runs in a six-batter span as the Yankees lost to the last-place Orioles, 7-1, before 28,879 at Yankee Stadium.
"Usually I say solo homers don’t beat you," Heaney said. "But you give up four of them in four innings, that’s probably going to do it. It’s just frustrating to put the team in a hole like that and not really give us a chance to win."
Gallo went 1-for-3 with a walk and picked up the Yankees’ first hit. The problem: His double to the right-centerfield wall began the sixth inning with the Yankees already trailing 6-1.
"I think they’re all excited to put on the pinstripes and play here at Yankee Stadium," Aaron Boone said. "Unfortunately, we were kind of held down. The Orioles took it to us tonight in every way. Spoils that homecoming a little bit."
The Yankees were held hitless for the first five innings by righthander Jorge Lopez, who came in with a 2-12 record and 6.19 ERA.
The Yankees actually got a run before they got a hit on two walks and a sacrifice fly by Rizzo in the fifth.
Rizzo went 0-for-2 and was hit by a pitch after going 5-for-9 in his first three games as a Yankee. Gallo went 1-for-12 in his first three games, but the Yankees won all three in Miami and were riding high after having won five of their last six.
The Yankees finished with three hits against four Orioles pitchers. They received seven walks and the HBP but went 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position.
"First of all, I thought Lopez threw the ball well and didn’t give in," Boone said. "We were able to create some traffic . . . but weren’t really able to sting much on the bat."
The biggest excitement for the home fans came during an eighth-inning cat delay.
A gray tiger-striped feline made its way onto the field during an Aaron Judge at-bat and kept the crowd enthralled as it eluded purr-suers from the grounds crew for nearly four minutes.
The cat, which emerged from an area in foul territory between the third-base dugout and the leftfield line, ran to the outfield and scurried from leftfield to left-center and back again. The cat’s attempts to scale the low scoreboard and bullpen fence were unsuccessful but highly entertaining to the fans, who chanted "MVP" at the feisty furball and clearly were rooting for the cat as it was surrounded but escaped again.
Finally, the cat was coaxed into an open door near the stands down the leftfield line and the game continued.
"That thing was pretty elusive to catch there," Gallo said. "Their tactics to get it, I think we can work on. That thing was quick. I actually called time because the catcher and the umpire, they didn’t see it. I was like, ‘Hey, hey, hey.’ I pointed and I saw the cat. I just heard all the fans yelling and what-not. Pretty cool, I guess. Weird moment, but interesting for baseball."
Yankees fans probably expected the balls to fly out of the yard during the game the way they did in batting practice, when Rizzo, Gallo and Judge were in the same grouping. Early-arriving patrons were treated to a power show preview.
They probably didn’t expect the in-game power show to come from the Orioles.
First it was Cedric Mullins, who launched a two-out homer to right in the third for the game’s first run.
Three pitches later, Austin Hays homered to left to give the Orioles a 2-0 lead.
Trey Mancini hit a long fly to center — the crowd braced for the worst — to end the inning.
The barrage against Heaney continued when Ryan Mountcastle led off the fourth with a homer to left. One out later, Ramon Urias hit a drive into the Baltimore bullpen in left-center to make it 4-0.
As the boos rained down on Heaney, Pedro Severino doubled off the centerfield wall. It nearly was home run No. 5.
Heaney was saved from further carnage when Gallo made a leaping catch of Maikel Franco’s drive to the warning track in left for the second out. Finally, Heaney struck out Pat Valaika to end the inning and his Yankees debut.
"It was great," he said of pitching in pinstripes. "I wish I could have done better."
Said Gallo, "It was definitely a crazy day. It was obviously different playing my first game on the road. This first game here felt fresh and wearing those pinstripes, growing up watching that, was pretty amazing. The Roll Call with the fans and what-not, it’s a special place to play, so I just feel honored to play here. Obviously, would have been great to get a win, but it was still a special day for me."