Rout Is On
Written by Mike Laws
Rout is on
O’s cruise on early three-run bombs
New York Yankees 3, Orioles 11
With all the overpriced, in some cases vastly overrated superstars the Yankees are missing due to injury, you’d think it wouldn’t feel this good for the Orioles to mop the floor with them.
Savor the bullet points:
- Part of the satisfaction factor comes from shutting up the many pinstriped idiots who still come out in droves and parrot their mindless chants and boo the home-team pitching coach and the like. True, it’s gotten better over the last couple years, but, to lift from Ken Kesey, they’re out there. And that was, for some reason (weekend release?), especially the case on Saturday, when the knuckleheads threatened to erupt after the visitors loaded the bases against Zach Britton in the top of the first, all despite the fact the lefty hadn’t given up so much as a hard-hit baseball yet. Britton had recorded two quick outs (four total pitches) before Robinson Cano tugged a bouncer down the first-base line that Chris Davis could only stab at and not snare, then ice-cold Vernon Wells pushed a 1-2 offering through the 3/4 hole, then Ichiro Baltimore-chopped a fine 2-2 fastball way up above the mound. By the time it came down for Britton to field, the still-fleet-at-39 Ichiro was already past the bag at first. And so, though they’d barely gotten a ball through the infield, the Yankees now had ’em loaded with two away for Zoilo Almonte — who promptly worked the count in his favor at 3-1 (he even probably could’ve walked, but overanxiously offered at a 2-0 Britton curveball that wended its way down and in under his hands). Ironically, Almonte would wind up getting better wood onto Britton’s final delivery of the inning, a 92 mph outer-half fastball (again, a pretty good pitch), than had any of his teammates, going with it and sending the ball out the other way, over Nick Markakis’s head, but just too close to the Gold Glove right fielder, who executed a half-leap and reeled it in at the edge of the warning track. Phew …
- And now it was the Orioles' turn at the dish. Whaddya think, can the bats finish the job, and completely silence the obnoxious out-of-towners — or at least drown them out? They can. Nate McLouth fouled out to lead things off, but Manny Machado pulled his best Yankee impression, reaching safely courtesy of a grounder several steps to the left of where shortstop Jayson Nix had been playing the youngster; Nix could only knock the ball down. (Hey, Yanks fans, if it’s any consolation, Jeter wouldn’t even have reached it!) Markakis followed with another dead-on impression, an Ichiro-esque sliced liner over third on a 2-1 Phelps delivery. Two on, one out for Adam Jones — who received the first hanging breaking ball (but not the last) of the inning, and though he couldn’t elevate it, did rip it through the left side, past a diving David Adams, good to plate Machado with the first run of the game …
- But don’t adjust that dial, sportsfans. (As if I need to say that, with Davis coming up.) It ain’t gonna be 1-0 for long. The Oriole slugger, entering play with twenty-eight home runs, already, on the year, would take a ball low, then a strike, then another ball, again low, before unloading on another of Phelps’s hung sliders, this one up and away, driving it way out over left-center and into the Oriole bullpen’s dugout (where it scattered several happy/scared hurlers). 4-0. Phelps would go on to retire the side, ringing up Ryan Flaherty after J.J. Hardy had singled and Chris Dickerson doubled into the gap in left-center, but apparently all that did was make Flaherty mad …
- … because, following a second inning in which Britton surrendered a single but erased it with a side-retiring double play, and in which Phelps, too, (somehow) faced only the three opposing hitters, Flaherty would get his revenge. Jones grounded out, to kick off the Oriole third, but then Davis walked, Matt Wieters chipped a single into left, and Hardy likewise drew a free pass. Which set up a bases-loaded situation for Dickerson, who fell into an 0-2 hole (on, admittedly, a nice curve/two-seam fastball combination from Phelps) before swatting the Yankee starter’s third offering back through the box, off the glove of the diving Nix and squirting into center. Davis scored. Wieters scored. 6-0, O’s. And now Flaherty stood in with a chance to FINISH HIM — K, sorry, “Mortal Kombat” flashback — and nearly did on the first pitch he saw, crushing a tailing liner deep the other way, into the left-field corner, just foul. But that was mere prelude to the very next pitch, another hanging curve, and Flaherty didn’t miss it: The much-maligned (but currently red-hot) second baseman jacked the pitch out over the out-of-town scoreboard, up onto a flag court chockablock with going-nuts orange-clad hometown supporters. 9-0.
- Which is probably just about all you need to know. Real quick, then, let’s run down the rest: Staked to such a mammoth lead, Britton settled in comfortably, declining to allow a baserunner through the fourth and fifth, though he hit something of a wall in the sixth, and issued three walks and a single and a sacrifice fly, which got the Bombers on the board; still, he should’ve been out of the inning when Lyle Overbay yanked a two-out bases-loaded grounder right of Davis, at first, who had the ball eat him up and tick off the heel of his mitt. That bounced Britton from the ballgame; Jair Jurrjens came on; Yankee skipper Joe Girardi countered with pinch hitter Travis Hafner, who could’ve made this real interesting in a hurry, but wound up flying out deep to left, almost to the corner, where McLouth tracked it down …
And after the error, Davis atoned by lifting a long fly ball to right off Ivan Nova, with Markakis aboard, having singled — a long fly ball that never came back, and settled into that same mass of apoplectic fans enjoying the proceedings from the flag court. Didn’t even sound like a homer. Jeez. Anyway, Davis’s two-run shot, his second long ball of the night and thirtieth of the season, restored the nine-run cushion (and touched up a fine-form Nova for the only runs he’d concede in long relief). Jurrjens then fairly cruised through the seventh and eighth, escaping the latter by way of a timely GIDP from Overbay following a one-out double and single from Almonte and Adams, respectively. So it was 11-2 heading into the ninth, and if you were thinking this is exactly the right circumstance for Pedro Strop to get a little work in, well, Buck was right there with you. And while Strop gave up back-to-back doubles to start things off/cut the margin to eight, he’d go on to record a fly-out, strikeout and groundout to retire the side and put an end to this one. 11-3, is your happy — nay, ecstatic — final, with a chance for the Birds to (finally) sweep — and on ESPN, in the so-called game of the week — tonight. My, how the times have changed …
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