BALTIMORE – Statistical probability guarantees the Orioles will beat the Yankees again one day.
Don’t bet a significant sum on that happening this season.
After Jonathan Loaisiga allowed a two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth inning to put the Yankees behind for the first time all night, Aaron Judge’s massive three-run homer in the ninth paved the way to an 8-6 victory at Camden Yards Thursday night, a game that included Luke Voit’s first career grand slam and a 1-hour, 34-minute rain delay.
The victory gave the Yankees their 18th straight win vs. the Orioles (2-3) overall and 17th in a row at Camden Yards, their longest road winning streak at any single opponent.
It also gave the Yankees a 4-1 record on this strangest of trips to start the season – a trip that began with a rain-shortened victory in the season-opener at the Nationals and continued with two postponed games in Philadelphia because of COVID-19 and the ensuing last-minute rescheduling that brought them here.
Asked to describe the trip overall, manager Aaron Boone smiled.
“2020-ish,” he said. “Definitely unique. But to go home 4-1 to start the season, obviously you’d take that.”
There was a possible dark cloud in the win.
Gleyber Torres, hit on his right elbow by a John Means 95-mph fastball in the first inning, was replaced in the field at shortstop in the bottom of the fourth by Tyler Wade. The Yankees later announced Torres, 23, was removed with “a right elbow contusion.” X-rays taken at Camden Yards were negative.
“I’m not too concerned,” Boone said of Torres. “He’s a little sore. Got hit right on the bone there. He’s kind of day to day with that. He could be in there tomorrow. We’ll see.”
Torres said he “couldn’t throw 100%,” the reason he came out of the game.
“It’s a little bit sore but it’s getting better and better,” he said. “Let’s see how I feel tomorrow.”
A rainstorm arrived in Baltimore shortly before 9 p.m., causing a delay to begin officially at 8:57. The game resumed at 10:31 p.m., which avoided a similar situation that occurred in Washington when the Yankees’ season-opener, a 4-1 win, vs. the Nationals was called in the top of the sixth inning.
J.A. Happ, coming off a 2019 in which he went 12-8 with a 4.91 ERA and allowed a career-worst 34 homers – in just 161 1/3 innings – too much resembled that pitcher Thursday. Spotted a 5-0 lead before he took the mound – Voit’s first-inning grand slam accounted for most of that – Happ could only make it through four innings. The 37-year-old allowed four runs – two in each of the first two innings – four hits and two walks.
Adam Ottavino took over in the fifth and pitched a scoreless inning. As Pedro Severino stepped in against Loaisiga to start the sixth, sheets of rain descended on the ballpark and the umpires signaled for the tarp.
Loaisiga stayed in after the delay and took the 5-4 lead into eighth. But he hit Anthony Santander with a pitch, then saw Severino jump on a first-pitch 97-mph fastball and send it to left, his first homer of the season making it 6-5.
In the previous half-inning, the Yankees put runners at second and third with one out but Voit and Gary Sanchez struck out. Sanchez is off to a 0-for-15 start at the plate with 10 strikeouts.
But the Yankees rallied in the ninth. Righty Cole Sulser walked Gio Urshela to lead off the inning and allowed a one-out single to DJ LeMahieu, who had four hits the night before.
Judge, who homered in Wednesday’s victory, destroyed a flat 3-and-1 fastball to left for his second homer of the season and the 8-6 lead.
“Just get the job done,” Judge said of his approach.
Judge did just that, as did Zack Britton, who pitched a perfect ninth for his second save.