NEW YORK – Bumps were forming on the Orioles’ road trip, which began with a three-game sweep in Toronto. The Yankees hit three home runs tonight off Tyler Wells and appeared in control heading into the seventh inning. A nice margin for Nestor Cortes. Another bad finish for his former team.
The 2023 Orioles don’t want to hear it. They just keep coming. Spitting water and breathing fire.
They sent 12 batters to the plate in the seventh and scored eight runs. Adam Frazier hit the foul pole with two runners on base, Gunnar Henderson came off the bench and drove in two with a double to give the Orioles a lead, and a sacrifice fly and two RBI singles followed. Fans booed. It began to rain again.
A club that trailed by four runs suddenly led by four.
It won by three, 9-6, before an announced crowd of 39,455 at Yankee Stadium. It keeps accomplishing what isn’t supposed to happen.
The Orioles are 32-17 and remain three games behind first-place Tampa Bay. A Yankees win would have put them one behind Baltimore.
The eight-run inning is the largest for the Orioles since they scored nine in the eighth on Sept. 8, 2021 against the Royals. Per STATS, it ties their most in an inning in the Bronx, on June 5, 1989.
Anthony Santander led off the seventh with a walk, Austin Hays singled and Frazier lofted a high fly ball that struck the right field foul pole to cut the lead to 5-4 and force Cortes out of the game. Frazier has doubled his home run total from last season in 156 games with the Mariners.
Frazier tried to will the ball fair down the line.
“I felt like I got it off the bat, but you see the wind pushing it foul,” he said. “Wasn’t a very good feeling until it hit.”
James McCann singled off Jimmy Cordero, Jorge Mateo singled and Henderson lined a two-run double to right. Adley Rutschman drew a one-out walk, Albert Abreu came out of the bullpen and Ryan Mountcastle lifted a sacrifice fly to right.
Next came the run-scoring singles by Santander and Hays for a 9-5 lead. There also was a passed ball and throwing error in the mix.
Hays is the first Oriole with two hits in the same inning since Cedric Mullins on May 5 in Atlanta. So, not that long ago.
Henderson has four hits in his last three games and 11 in his last 11. He helped the Orioles to their 19th comeback win.
“Just glad to come through for the team in a big spot,” he said. “Really just trying to stay ready. It’s been fun just trying to figure out how to be ready in those situations. Haven’t really done it too much in my career, but just going through the developmental side of it and glad to come through.”
“This game’s hard,” Frazier said. “No matter how good you are, it’s going to humble you at some point. He’s very competitive with himself, so it’s never easy, but we all had confidence in him this whole time. Hopefully, it’s just the start of a lot of good things to come.”
Henderson began swinging in one of the indoor cages near the dugout before the seventh in case he was needed. He went through some scenarios in his head while facing 10 to 15 pitches, missing Frazier’s home run.
“That always helps,” he said. “I was able to get on a machine and just see some velo. You’re coming in, you’re usually going to face a guy with some velo. That was the biggest thing to stay ready.”
What do those 19 comeback victories say about the Orioles?
“That we’re never out, don’t count us out, and we’ll battle back,” Henderson said. “There’s no quit in this team.”
“I told the guys after the game, we’re never out of it,” Frazier said. “One through nine, everybody can impact the game in a positive way at any moment. Just pretty complete lineup and I think that answers your question.”
The seventh defined what the Orioles have become.
“It’s a no-quit attitude, there’s no doubt about it,” said manager Brandon Hyde. “Ton of fight, ton of energy in our dugout. Nestor Cortes has given us a lot of problems the past couple years, and Frazier with just an enormous homer there for us. Good at-bats before that, as well, and we had a bunch of hits after that. A huge offensive inning when we needed it.
“I just think we have great makeup guys that pull for each other and stay together. And the guys we’ve added are right along that wavelength. They’re bulldogs, man. They’re going out and trying to get on base and trying to get the next guy up. You can hear our dugout and see how excited they are for each other. It’s fun to watch right now.”
Mountcastle launched a cutter 426 feet in the fourth inning for his 11th home run, but the next seven Orioles failed to reach base, and eight of nine.
Cue the Santander walk in the seventh and Yankees meltdown.
Frazier extended his hitting streak to seven games and his on-base streak to 17, matching his career high.
“I was late all night and finally got on time for one,” he said. “Two guys in front of me found a way on and finally, same thing, find a way to get on base, and that was it.
“Being on time gives you a chance. Just feel like I’m in a good place swing-wise. Just try to keep that going.”
The Orioles have scored at least five runs in their last six games and eight of nine.
“Got to get as many as we can,” Frazier said, “especially here.”
Mychal Givens replaced Mike Baumann in the seventh and loaded the bases with one out. Anthony Rizzo’s fly ball to left field off Danny Coulombe fell for an RBI single, but a strikeout and ground ball limited the damage.
Coulombe retired the side in order with two strikeouts in the eighth.
“Danny Coulombe pretty much won us the ballgame there with what he did in 1 2/3,” Hyde said.
Félix Bautista recorded his 12th save, one night after serving up a game-tying home run to Aaron Judge. He walked Judge with two outs tonight and stranded him.
* As Hyde watched Wells in 2021, the Rule 5 relief version of the tall right-hander, he didn’t predict that the rookie would evolve into the club’s best starter two years later.
“No,” Hyde said this afternoon, his honesty commendable.
“I never really saw him get extended long,” Hyde continued. “It’s a total different mindset coming out of the bullpen. I didn’t know if he was durable or not, to post every five days. I was hoping, and last year he proved to a lot of people that he’s able to take the ball every fifth day.”
He’s been good with it on most occasions, his ERA dropping to 2.94, but the Yankees have been red-hot and capable of burning anyone who challenges them. Wells is no exception.
Gleyber Torres homered twice of Wells and Isiah Kiner-Falefa also took him deep.
Wells tied his career high with eight strikeouts in five innings, but also with five runs allowed and three home runs. Thirteen homers have accounted for 18 of his 22 runs this season.
Hyde removed Wells after 95 pitches, 10 to strike out Rizzo in the fifth. Mike Baumann retired the side in order in the sixth.
A one hour and 36 minute delay to start the game wasn’t the worst part of Wells’ night.
Wells retired the first seven Yankees and eight of nine, striking out four batters along the way. But the lineup holds a few players who are terrors against the Orioles, including Torres, who hit a two-run homer in the fourth.
The cutter failed Wells again in the fifth when Kiner-Falefa followed a leadoff walk to Anthony Volpe by clearing the left field fence. Kyle Higashioka struck out and Torres drove a changeup into the left field seats for a 5-1 lead.
Torres has 20 home runs and 52 RBIs in 74 career games against the Orioles.
The offense had Wells’ back, as it so often does with this pitching staff.
“It feels really good,” he said. “There’s so much confidence that I have in our lineup and our team to be able to make plays behind me, to get it done at the plate. I was just happy with the fact that we were able to come back there because I really felt like whenever I came out of the game, I didn’t give them much of a chance to come back, and I think that speaks volumes about our team with the ability to always come back in a game and we’re never out of it.
“I just think that’s our grit. We’ve constantly been talking about it and try to make sure that we instill that into our mindset.”
Wells was in the trainers’ room as the Orioles rallied.
“It was a lot of fun,” he said. “I was kind of dissecting my outing as a starter, but it was great to see. I’m sitting in there, I’m screaming at the TV as I see it all unfolding as I’m taking care of my arm. It’s great really to see the guys pick me up. I can’t speak highly enough about that.”
Mountcastle homered into the visiting bullpen with one out in the fourth to slice the lead to 2-1. Mountcastle was 2-for-16 lifetime against Cortes before the at-bat.
Cortes allowed 16 homers in 28 starts last season. He’s surrendered 10 in 10 starts in 2023.
The former Orioles Rule 5 pick retired the first six batters on 18 pitches, 16 for strikes. McCann grounded out in the third, but Mateo walked and Joey Ortiz singled for his fifth hit in his last 10 at-bats.
Mullins flied out and Cortes picked off Mateo at second base.
* Ramón Urías served as designated hitter for High-A Aberdeen in Game 1 of a doubleheader against Jersey Shore and went 0-for-2 with two walks, two strikeouts and three runs scored. Jackson Holliday went 3-for-5 with a double to raise his average to .410 with a 1.243 OPS.
Holliday was 0-for-1 with two walks in the nightcap. Jud Fabian went 2-for-3 with a double and RBI.
Coby Mayo hit his sixth home run for Double-A Bowie, singled twice and drove in four runs. Heston Kjerstad singled twice and doubled.
Garrett Stallings tossed five scoreless innings with seven strikeouts.
Single-A Delmarva catcher Creed Willems went 2-for-4 with a double and his eighth home run. He had three RBIs. Samuel Basallo, playing first base, had a single and double.
Bradley Brehmer allowed one run and three hits with no walks in 5 2/3 innings.