The story of the first game of the American League Division Series between the New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles wasn’t about Derek Jeter using the restroom in the ninth inning, or even Maryland State Troopers asking for autographs. It was about missed opportunities.
This is something that the Orioles are likely unfamiliar with after a dream 2012 season in which most of the things that could go right did go right for them. In fact, Baltimore’s season is the perfect example of why we often say that in order for Team A to beat Team B, everything will have to go right. We usually say such things because Team B is better than Team A, and more likely to win the game, but we don’t want to mistake likelihood for certainty. The Major League Baseball post season is especially vengeful in its punishment for this type of mistake.
However, for eight innings last night, it looked as though the Orioles could hang with the Yankees, even while their starting pitcher tired, the middle of the lineup struggled and the team scrambled to stay their course. And then like that, New York reminded the Orioles that they would have to do more than stay even if they wanted to come out on top, because like that, the Yankees can take remind the Orioles that they don’t need everything to go right to win a game, they just need one inning or one opportunity to hit home runs and score a crooked number of runs.
Before tonight’s game, Buck Showalter said the following:
There’s no flukes in baseball. There’s no Cinderellas. You play too many games.
It’s a very true macro statement that was applicable at the micro level last night. They just played too many innings, and eventually the better team won out.
And the truth of that statement was on display once again tonight, as the Orioles outlasted the Yankes by taking advantage of a strong outing from Wei-Yin Chen and utilizing their brilliant bullpen to essentially contain the New York lineup and tie up this American League Division series at a game apiece with a 3-2 win. Here’s how the exciting game played out:
Pre Game Notes
Once again, it’s raining in Baltimore, but the first pitch has been rescheduled for 8:45 PM ET. Here are the lineups for Game 2 of the ALDS between the Orioles and Yankees, in Baltimore:
Nate McLouth LF
J.J. Hardy SS
Chris Davis RF
Adam Jones CF
Matt Wieters C
Mark Reynolds 1B
Jim Thome DH
Manny Machado 3B
Robert Andino 2B
Wei-Yin Chen LHP
New York Yankees
Derek Jeter SS
Ichiro Suzuki LF
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Robinson Cano 2B
Nick Swisher RF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Russell Martin C
Curtis Granderson CF
Eduardo Nunez DH
Andy Pettitte LHP
First Inning: Yankees 1 – Orioles 0
Jeter swings and misses at a first-pitch fastball from Wei-Yin Chen, and we’re underway. After seeing another of the exact same pitch, give or take a couple inches, Jeter slaps one into center field, and it’s really on. First baseman Mark Reynolds ranges almost all the way to second base to pick up an Ichiro grounder. Immediately after picking the ball up, he realizes he has no play. A-Rod lines one up the middle, but Robert Andino makes a great play to snag it and throw to second base for the force out double play. The consensus on Twitter is that New York sports talk radio will be absolutely thrilled by this.
Cano follows Rodriguez with a liner down the right field line. Ichiro scores like he’s an American Gladiator contestant trying to stuff a power ball in a cylinder while dodging one of the gladiators.
Swisher grounds out to end a very eventful inning.
Nate McLouth opens the home half of the inning with a fly ball to left that’s easily pulled in by Ichiro. J.J. Hardy grounds out to Cano, and Reynolds strikes out looking. It takes Andy Pettitte nine pitches to accomplish all of this.
Second Inning: Yankees 1 – Orioles 0
Mark Teixeira fouls out to first base and Russell Martin flies out to center. Granderson strikes out swinging. Chen is looking much better now that he’s mixing off speed and breaking pitches into his pitch chains. It’s like night and day.
Three up and three down again for Pettitte, who like Sabathia last night, is working incredibly quickly. He makes Mark Reynolds look foolish on a swinging strike out to end the inning.
Third Inning: Yankees 1 – Orioles 2
Eduardo Nunez pops out to lead off the inning, which brings up Jeter. The Yankees shortstop gets a called third strike and for the second time tonight, has words with home plate umpire Angel Hernandez.
New York fans aren’t enjoying his strike zone, but there was another pitch in the at bat that had a more egregious call than the last strike.
Ichiro gets aboard with the most Ichiroest infield single ever, and then A-Rod hits a liner to left field for a single. Runners on second and third for Cano who grounds out rather unceremoniously to end the brief Yankees threat.
On the other side, Pettitte is making it look incredibly easy, breezing through the Orioles lineup. He gives up his first hit to the number nine hitter, Robert Andino who fists a bloop into center. The man on base only serves to allow the broadcast booth to fawn over Pettitte’s pick off move through the entirety of the at bat to McLouth, who hits the ball a bit harder, but it lands in almost the exact same location as the hole that Andino found with his bloop. Runners at first and second with two out.
Pettitte walks Hardy. Then, the Orioles go ahead when Davis pulls a hanging slider in the middle of the strike zone into right field, with Andino and McLouth coming in to score.
Look at that location. It’s hard to find a pitch more in the center of the strike zone. It was easy pickings for Davis who appeared to be waiting on a breaking pitch from Pettitte.
Before facing Andino, Pettitte had thrown 27 pitches. He’s now a dozen more with two outs. A lengthy battle with Adam Jones results in the center fielder finally getting a hit, loading the bases with a grounder that squeezes under Jeter’s glove.
Good job. Good effort.
Replay shows that Hardy could’ve scored if he obeyed his third base coach who was waving him home furiously. It looks as though an A-Rod fake tag freaked him out, and kept him on the base. Wieters ends the inning though with a pop up to Cano.
Fourth Inning: Yankees 1 – Orioles 2
Chen strikes Swisher out swinging, but Teixeira makes good contact and hits a single to center field. Then, Martin draws a walk, as Chen appears to be having some trouble with the command of his fastball, and now his off speed and breaking pitches aren’t reaching the strike zone. And when one finally does, Granderson knocks a slider into center left to load the bases with one out for Nunez. The designated hitter (!) flies out weakly to Hardy at short. Jeter bounces one along the ground to Machado who takes the force at third base to end the top half of the fourth.
After ending his team’s threat in the previous half-inning, Jeter over throws a routine grounder to allow Reynolds to reach on an error.
Considering the awful Game One he had on Sunday night, it appears as though A-Rod and Jeter are auditioning for Freaky Friday tonight.
Jim Thome follows Reynolds by striking out swinging.
Thome’s helmet looks like it was soaked in the chewing tobacco vomit from The Sandlot.
— Mike Baumann (@MJ_Baumann) October 9, 2012
Machado and Andino hit into back-to-back fielder’s choices to end the inning.
Fifth Inning: Yankees 1 – Orioles 2
It takes Chen just four pitches to get through the Yankees lineup in the top of the fifth. If the Orioles can contain the Yankees for the rest of the game, this inning will be remembered as vital. He currently sits at 79 pitches. Heading into the bottom of the inning, Pettitte is at 64.
More bad defense from the Yankees, as Teixeira Buckners a ground ball down the first base line. If it doesn’t hit the first base umpire, there’s a chance that McLouth gets another base out of it. Hardy takes a fastball right down the middle for strike three. I don’t know how he didn’t swing at it. Davis flies out to center field, and Jones flies out to Swisher in right to end the inning. Pettitte’s pitch total is at 75.
Sixth Inning: Yankees 1 – Orioles 3
Hardy does his best Jeter impression with an error that allows Martin to reach with two outs (Machado weeps), but Chen, effectively mixing speeds, location and levels continues to be a nightmare for Granderson, as the Yankees can’t get anything going.
Sure hope the Orioles have some type of super-prospect that can play shortstop.
— Matt Sussman (@suss2hyphens) October 9, 2012
Wieters gets his first hit of the post season, a double to lead off the bottom of the sixth. Reynolds knocks him in with a single up the middle to make it 3-1 for Baltimore. Pettitte’s velocity is fading rapidly:
Joba Chamberlain is tossing in the Yankees bullpen, as Pettitte strikes out Thome for the second time tonight. The grizzled veteran then induces a weak comebacker from Machado, which he himself uses to start a double play and end the inning.
Seventh Inning: Yankees 2 – Orioles 3
Nunez leads off the inning with double after a six-pitch plate appearance. Chen has been brilliant since the first inning, when he seemed reluctant to throw his slider. After gaining some confidence with his breaking pitches, he’s been fantastic, hardly giving up a single hard hit ball.
Jeter makes up for his earlier struggles by fisting one into right field that scores Nunez. It may be about that time for Chen.
Chen gets Ichiro to hit into a fielder’s choice that was very close to a double play. He leaves the game for Darren O’Day, having thrown six and a third innings, giving up two runs (one earned) on eight hits and a walk, while striking out three.
It feels like O’Day has pitched roughly 30 innings already this postseason. Not that I’m complaining.
— Colin Wyers (@cwyers) October 9, 2012
O’Day strikes out A-Rod, but Ichiro is able to swipe second base on the swing and miss pitch for strike three. And that’s all she wrote for O’Day, who leaves the game for a left-hander to face Cano. It’s Brain Matusz, but he walks Cano with two out to face the switch-hitting Swisher, or swish-hitting Switcher, whichever you prefer.
Matusz’s first pitch is wild, and both runners advance, negating the possibility of a force at any base. However, it all works out for Buck Showalter, as Swisher flies out to left field to end the top of the seventh.
Hated the IBB. Hated having Matusz issue it, rather than O’Day. Then a WP. And yet… #ThatsTheWayBaseballGo
— Matthew Leach (@MatthewHLeach) October 9, 2012
Pettitte comes back for the seventh. He quickly disposes of Andino, inducing a grounder to Jeter, who complains about the bounce after he makes the play. McLouth flies out to center field, and Hardy grounds out to Rodriguez to end the inning.
Eighth Inning: Yankees 2 – Orioles 3
The Baltimore Orioles are 75-0 when leading after seven innings this season, so good luck with that, New York.
Teixeira constricts a double into a single to lead off the eighth against Matusz, but the southpaw strikes out Martin on a questionable called third strike:
There’s no question about his strike out of Granderson, though. He swings and misses at a curve ball in the dirt to bring up Nunez. The ninth hitter fouls out to first to end the top of the eighth.
Pettitte makes one pitch this inning, and is promptly removed when Davis lines it into center field for a base hit. The veteran lefty leaves having completed seven innings, allowing three runs on seven hits and a walk, striking out five batters.
David Robertson enters the game. He gets Jones to tap a comebacker his way after making him look silly on several curve balls in succession. He easily throws the Orioles center fielder out at first base. Davis advances to second on the play.
Robertson with the completely missed opportunity to make out with the baseball
— Jason Wojciechowski (@jlwoj) October 9, 2012
Wieters grounds out to first base, and Davis advances to third base with two outs. Reynolds goes down swinging for strike three toe end the inning.
You might say David Robertson has curves in all the right places. #curveballs
— Nick Shlain (@electricsnuff) October 9, 2012
Ninth Inning: Yankees 2 – Orioles 3
Dirty Jim Johnson comes into the game with a chance at redemption after his ninth inning failures from a night ago. He’s scheduled to face the top of the Yankees lineup. So far tonight, Baltimore relievers have collected five outs on seven batters.
Jeter leads it off with a first-pitch ground out. It’s been an awful game for Jeter despite two hits. Ichiro grounds out to Andino. And the Orioles are one out away from a tied ALDS.
And Johnson strikes out A-Rod to end the game. He collected all three strikes on swings and misses.
Dirty! The #YOLOrioles win the game and tie the series at one game apiece.