The Yankees were not able to sweep the Baltimore Orioles
The Yankees lost to the Baltimore Orioles, 7–4, in 11 innings in the series finale at Yankee Stadium. Even though they lost the game and ended their four-game winning streak, the Yankees were able to finish the month 10–2 at home and win their third straight series against an AL East opponent.
The Yankees had a great chance to win the game in the bottom of the 10th after tying the game in the bottom of the 9th on Didi Gregorius’s single to right center that scored Starlin Castro and Aaron Judge. A major takeaway from the series is that Gregorius, in his first three games of the season, had seven hits in 15 at-bats (.467 average) with two runs scored, two doubles and four RBI.
In the bottom of the 10th, after Greg Bird was hit by a pitch to load the bases, Starlin Castro hit a routine groundout that led to Austin Romine being thrown out at home and then Judge struck out swinging with the bases loaded to end the bottom of the 10th. The Yankees had a great opportunity to win the game in the 10th, but Castro and Judge, who both have averages of at least .333 in the last seven days, were not able to win the hero for the Yankees.
In the top of the 11th, Mark Trumbo hit the game winning single up the middle after Bryan Mitchell intentionally walked Manny Machado. This was in Bryan Mitchell’s second inning of work as he pitched the 9th and 11th innings after playing 1st base in the 10th. Mitchell had no issues in the 9th as he only allowed a single but lost his effectiveness in the 11th after an unusual inning layoff.
Mitchell had to play 1st base in the 10th so that he would be available to pitch in the 11th inning. Girardi made this unorthodox move because he didn’t want Tommy Layne to pitch in this game and Mitchell was the only reliever left.
This was Mitchell’s first ever appearance as a position player as a professional but said after the game that when he was not pitching in high school he played right field or first base.
Aroldis Chapman only allowed a single in the 10th inning. However, Mitchell was not effective with two outs in the 11th as the Orioles scored a run on Trumbo’s single and then added two more insurance runs off of Mitchell on Welington Castillo’s single.
The game started with a decent start from rookie Jordan Montgomery. He allowed three earned runs on three hits and four walks in five innings pitched. His 92 pitches prevented him from pitching more than five innings. The positives from his start were that he had seven strikeouts and retired the side in order in the first, second and fourth innings.
Judge made a catch after jumping just above the wall to keep the score tied at zero in the first inning. Judge barely had to jump because he is 6–7.
“The walks were costly but I thought he threw the ball pretty well,” Girardi said in reference to Jordan Montgomery.
The two walks Girardi was talking about came to lead off the sixth inning against the heart of the Orioles order. Manny Machado and Trumbo, who Mitchell walked, would score later in the inning off of Jonathan Holder and those would be the second and third runs charged to Montgomery.
Montgomery said that he threw with too much finesse in the sixth. Montgomery had a solid 4.15 ERA through four starts but needs to work on his length since he threw five innings or less in two of his four starts. However, he does deserve to be in the rotation for the foreseeable future.
“Fastball and change combo was good and got first pitch strike a lot,” Montgomery said in reference to his success early in the game. “I just have to get better, learn from my mistakes and go from here.”
Another positive from the series against the Orioles is that Judge was 5–9 (.556) with 3 HR, 7 R, 5 RBI, 6 BB, 1 SB. His power numbers are among the best in the American League as his 10 homers are tied with Khris Davis for most in the AL, his 20 RBI are tied with Avisail Garcia for fifth in the AL, his .750 slugging percentage is the best in the league and his 1.8 WAR is third best in the league. These are outstanding overall numbers for the first month of the season especially after Judge struggled in his 27 games played last season.
Joe Girardi is pleased that so many different players on the team have contributed to victories during the month of April.
“We have had contributions from everyone,” Girardi said. “We have had some guys get off to slow starts but we have managed to win 15 of the first 23 games.”
Overall, even after today’s disappointing loss, the month of April was a very successful one for the Yankees. Their 15–8 record (.652 win%) is tied with the Orioles for the best in the AL, their +43 run differential is best in the AL and only trails the Nationals +48 in all of baseball, their 37 homers are tied for 3rd most in Yankees history in April, Judge’s 10 homers during April are tied for most in the month of April by a rookie in MLB history (Jose Abreu and Trevor Story) and their 10 wins at Yankee Stadium are tied for the most in Yankees history.
They also had 10 wins at home in April in 1999, 2011 and 2013. In 1999, the Yankees won the World Series and finished the season with a 98–64 record (.605 win%; in 2011 the Yankees lost in the League Division Series to the Detroit Tigers and finished with 97–65 record (.599 win%). And in 2013, which was the only one out of the three when they didn’t make the playoffs, the Yankees finished in third place with a 85–77 record (.525 win%).