Could Cal Ripken, Jr. return to manage the O's?
NEW YORK – Can one big inning turn the Orioles around?
After losing four of five in Boston and New York, the Orioles were angry and desperate for a win. After 18 straight scoreless innings, they provided some excitement with a seven-run seventh inning, equaling their largest of the season.
The big inning featuring three-run home runs by J.J. Hardy and Adam Jones sent to the Orioles to Cleveland with a 7-3 win over the New York Yankees before 40,361 at Yankee Stadium on Sunday.
“I think it’s a little frustration there. They didn’t want it to end,” manager Buck Showalter said.
"We've got [Justin] Masterson tomorrow. You think we'll be relaxed and confident? That's why people are playing meaningful games this time of the year, because they've got good pitchers you're going to see every day. Scoring seven runs in one inning on Sept. 1, we hope it bodes well for a good September because we're going to need it. It's a good way to start the month."
The win allowed the Orioles (72-63) to pass New York (72-64) for third place in the American League East.
The Yankees scored three runs off Wei-Yin Chen, who was lifted after four innings. Chen, who had a string of eight straight starts of at least six innings snapped on Tuesday when Boston battered him for eight runs in 3 2/3 innings, was not very good.
Chen walked a career high five batters, including two in the first when he escaped a bases-loaded jam by striking out Vernon Wells.
In the third, Brett Gardner doubled to lead off and scored on Alfonso Soriano’s two-out single.
Chen walked three more in the fourth. Mark Reynolds walked with one out. Eduardo Nunez singled and Chris Stewart walked to load the bases. Gardner’s walk scored Reynolds and Nunez came in on Derek Jeter’s sacrifice fly to right.
Chen gave up four hits on three runs and struck out five.
“Sometimes, the strike zone was a little small today,” Chen said through his interpreter.
In the seventh, Andy Pettitte, who had allowed just three singles in the first six innings as the Orioles extended their scoreless streak to 18 innings, gave up two more to start the inning.
After Michael Morse, playing in his first game for the Orioles and Danny Valencia, both singled, Pettitte, who was going for his 29th win against Baltimore, was removed.
Matt Wieters singled off Shawn Kelley (4-2) to score Morse, the Orioles’ first run since the sixth inning on Friday night and Hardy, who spent Saturday evening at the U.S. Open, aced a three-run home run, his 24th, and it was 4-3.
“We were a little flat. We could all see it. We could all feel it. That was big for us. Hopefully, that jumpstarts our September,” Hardy said.
Brian Roberts bunted for a base hit against Boone Logan. Nick Markakis walked, and with one out, Jones hit a long home run to center field, his 28th, and the Orioles equaled their biggest inning of the season.
“Yeah what a team. These guys came together right there in the seventh, I got a hit and got something started, we knocked out a couple line drives and we got Pettitte out of the game. That was big. He’s a tough pitcher. Adam came through with that home run and it was pretty good,” Morse said.
Morse was 2-for-4 and played left field before being removed for Nate McLouth in the seventh.
“I love it. This is what we play for. This is a great team, a great organization and there’s so much upside to this organization and this team. And I think these guys are just starting to touch what they are capable of doing,” Morse said.
Kevin Gausman (2-3) threw two scoreless innings in the fifth and sixth. Both of his wins have in relief stints against New York. Gausman also pitched a scoreless inning on Saturday. He’d never worked on consecutive days before.
Gausman got to watch the offensive outburst up close.
“It was good. It was fun. Obviously, it’s always great when you have a big inning like that with multiple home runs. It’s good. It was good to be in the dugout and be a part of that,” Gausman said.
Francisco Rodriguez struck out two in the seventh. K-Rod has now struck out 22 batters in 16 innings.
Tommy Hunter pitched a scoreless eighth, and Darren O’Day worked the ninth.
NOTES: The Orioles begin a three-game series in Cleveland on Monday. Bud Norris (9-10, 4.13) faces Justin Masterson (14-9, 3.49) at 4:05 p.m.
-Robinson Cano struck out three times for the first time in 150 games against the Orioles.
-The Orioles lost six of their nine games at Yankee Stadium this season.