BALTIMORE — Despite not providing length in his previous two starts, J.A. Happ notched two victories and was the winner in three of his previous four outings.
Add that to the Yankees facing the hopeless Orioles in the first of four games at Camden Yards on Monday night and the veteran lefty appeared to be in a good spot.
Yet, looks were very deceiving because the O’s punished Happ, but the Orioles are the worst team in the American League for a reason.
They led by five runs after four innings and eventually lost, 10-7, in front of 16,457 as the Yankees scored four runs in the ninth when Gary Sanchez crushed a three-run homer one at-bat after O’s catcher Pedro Severino lost Luke Voit’s foul ball, which if caught would have sent the game to the home ninth tied, 7-7.
Instead Sanchez’s 13th homer was a bullet to left and brought Aroldis Chapman into the game for the final three outs and his 12th save in 13 chances.
Aaron Hicks’ sacrifice fly to left off Mychal Givens scored Brett Gardner from third and tied the score, 7-7, in the ninth. Voit walked in front of Sanchez’s homer off Givens after the dropped pop-up.
The victory stretched the first-place Yankees’ lead in the AL East to a game over the idle Rays.
Until the ninth, the highlight of the night was Gleyber Torres’ two homers.
In addition to Happ’s struggles, Voit dropped a routine foul pop to extend Trey Mancini’s at-bat in the sixth and he followed with a sacrifice fly to right that upped the O’s lead to 7-3.
Happ’s ERA went to 5.16 after giving up six runs and nine hits in 3 ²/₃ innings, his shortest outing of the season.
Orioles left fielder Dwight Smith Jr. helped the Yankees reduce the deficit to 7-5 in the seventh by throwing home wildly even though Cameron Maybin wasn’t trying to score. Torres’ homer in the eighth made it a one-run game. It was his third multi-homer game of the season, all against the Orioles.
After wasting a solid scoring chance in the fourth inning when Voit led off with a double and never moved off second base, DJ LeMahieu singled and Hicks walked to start the sixth with the Yankees in a 6-1 hole.
Orioles third baseman Rio Ruiz robbed Voit of an extra-base hit with a diving stop toward the line and threw the heavy-legged Voit out at first. With runners on second and third Sanchez worked the count full against Andrew Cashner and lined a single to center that scored LeMahieu and sent Hicks to third. Sanchez was 4-for-26 (.154) for the season with runners in scoring position before his homer.
The Orioles traded an out for a run when Morales’ ground ball up the middle was turned into an out at first while Hicks scored to cut the deficit to 6-3. That’s where the rally ended as Torres popped up to second baseman Hanser Alberto.
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