10. Baltimore Orioles vs. New York Yankees (Wednesday, August 13 - 7:05 pm - 5-3)
The Yankees came to town in mid-August for a crucial American League East match up, trying to gain some ground in the division that the Orioles were seemingly running away with. Despite an average 2014 campaign through August, the Yankees are a team that shouldn’t be underestimated.
Their 85 wins in 2013, despite a negative run differential, and winning record into August of 2014, again - despite a negative run differential, doesn’t lessen the anxiety felt from the big hitting and pitching rich Yankee teams of the late 90’s and 2000’s.
The Orioles won game one of the series, despite losing Manny Machado to what would end up being season ending surgery. Game two on Tuesday was postponed due to rain so the Yankees were able to go with Michael Pineda, the hard throwing righty who had just returned from injury. Pineda threw 5 great innings on only 67 pitches, before being replaced by Dellin Betances, the Yankees phenomenal rookie set up man to bridge the gap to closer David Robertson.
The Yankees were clinging to a 2-1 lead when Nick Hundley singled off of Betances to open the sixth before Nick Markakis, Chris Davis, and Adam Jones struck out. Betances would get Cruz to pop up, Delmon Young to fly out, and Steve Pearce to strike out for an easy 7th inning.
Joe Girardi, showing desperation in a mid-August game, stuck with Betances for the 8th. He retired Ryan Flaherty on a pop up for the shortstop before “Yankee killer” Jonathan Schoop came to bat in the 8th.
According to the Baltimore Sun’s August 14 game recap, before coming to the plate for his 8th inning at bat, Schoop told friend and team mate Manny Machado, “I might take this guy deep.”
Schoop continued his tear off of quality Yankees pitching, adding this home run off Betances to his two off of Japanese import Masahiro Tanaka. Schoop’s home run tied the game and Betances was out of the game.
The Yankees brought in Shawn Kelley, who got Nick Hundley to ground out for the second out before it all unraveled for the Yankees. Nick Markakis singled, Chris Davis walked, and then Adam Jones came through with the gut shot, a three-run homer to left center field.
It wasn’t the final blow to the Yankees season (which coincidentally happened twice in September against the O’s) but it was clearly a moment in retrospect that put baseball on-call that the Orioles were a force to be reckoned with for the remainder of the 2014 season.