At this point, all the Yankees could do was spoil the Orioles’ fun and have fun doing it.
Led by the Austins — Austin Romine and Tyler Austin, who drove in two runs each — the Yankees erased a three-run deficit and beat the Orioles, 7-3, making them incapable of clinching a wild-card berth Saturday. The Orioles would have had to beat the Yankees and the Tigers would have had to lose to the Braves or the Blue Jays would have had to lose to the Red Sox on Saturday night to punch the O’s ticket to a season that extends beyond Sunday.
Austin smacked Wade Miley’s splitter into the Yankees’ bullpen for a solo home run in the seventh, tying the score at 3. It was his fifth homer of the year, and all five either have tied the score or provided the go-ahead run. Romine’s two-run single in the eighth made it 5-3, and three batters later, Brett Gardner’s two-out, two-run double to left gave the Yankees a four-run lead.
The Yankees drew within 3-1 in the fifth on Austin’s RBI single and made it 3-2 on Headley’s two-out RBI double in the sixth.
The Orioles feasted on starter Luis Severino, who allowed three runs, five hits and two walks in 3 2⁄3 innings, but starved against five relievers: Jonathan Holder, Richard Bleier, Kirby Yates, Tyler Clippard (4-6) and Dellin Betances, who allowed four hits in 5 1⁄3 scoreless innings.
In a game that meant a whole lot of nothing to the Yankees, Severino’s troubles were perhaps the most . . . well, troubling. The Yankees have made it no secret that they view him as a starter, but he continued to struggle in that role.
Severino allowed Michael Bourn’s two-out, two-run single in the second inning and Manny Machado’s two-out solo homer to rightfield in the third on an 0-and-2 fastball. It was Machado’s 37th homer.
Severino continues to be the mystery that the Yankees can’t quite solve. He has struggled as a starter and flourished as a reliever. Entering the game, he was 0-8 with an 8.59 ERA (.339 opponents’ batting average) as a starter and 3-0 with an 0.39 ERA (.105 opponents’ batting average) as a reliever.
The team went 2-9 in games he started, and though that doesn’t mean much this year, right now is all about next season, and Joe Girardi knows it.
“I’m real curious” as to how he does, he said before the game. “You want him to end on a good note, to where he’s locating his fastball and he’s using his slider well, like he has been, and he’s mixing in his changeups.
“There will be a competition for sure for spots in the rotation as we walk through next spring,” he added. “There are no guarantees for some of our younger kids. We’ve had some younger kids pitch well. We’ve seen some good things from the Cessas and the Greens and the Mitchells, and at times, Sevey. As far as there being guaranteed spots, I don’t think you can say that. I think there will be a competition.”