4. Baltimore Orioles vs. New York Yankees (September 12 – 1:05 pm – 2-1)
At the beginning of 2014, if you would have told me that a four game home stand against the Yankees, including a day-night doubleheader to open the series, would have little to no effect on the Orioles rush towards winning the division, I would have called you crazy.
As Paul wrote in the recap of the sixth best game of 2014, these games mattered very little, to the point that a series split or even losing three out of four wouldn’t have been detrimental to the O’s playoff hopes.
But these are still the Yankees and the chance to put the final kill in their slim playoff hopes is always a positive. Add to that a day-night double header on a beautiful Friday afternoon and you've got a game worth seeing, even if the outcome was not of the upmost importance.
Kevin Gausman started for the Orioles against Brandon McCarthy. Both were very good, going deep into the game without allowing a run. Around the fifth or sixth inning, Paul told me to turn around and look at a guy who was sitting about 5 rows behind us. I looked but wasn’t able to identify said person without some more assistance. Paul told me he thought that person was Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman. Paul was correct, as evidenced by the picture below. We were amused by Cashman taking in the game alongside us commoners.
Gausman was done after he picked off Yankees Right Fielder Antoan Richardson for the final out of the seventh. Andrew Miller replaced Gausman and proceeded to strike out the side in the eighth. I can imagine that being the moment Cashman decided he was spending whatever was necessary to sign Miller in the off season. Darren O’Day pitched a scoreless ninth and we were heading to extra innings. Britton pitched a scoreless tenth and Brad Brach relieved him in the eleventh. Relatively new Yankee Chris Young, who was the New York’s hottest hitter, launched a solo shot to give the Yankees a 1-0 lead.
At this point, a Yankee fan at the end of our row starting getting obnoxious, in that typical New York or Boston sort of way. You would have thought that Young had just tied game 7 of the 2001 World Series. Even though he was with his three friends who were Orioles fans, he just couldn’t contain himself. Paul and I stared at him and hoped that the O’s had one more comeback, just to send this guy home unhappy.
With the Orioles offense having outlasted Dellin Betances and David Robertson, Joe Girardi was forced to go with Adam Warren to try to close out the game. After walking Nelson Cruz to open up the inning, Ryan Flaherty bunted over pinch runner David Lough. JJ Hardy was hit by a pitch and former Yankee Kelly Johnson struck out swinging. Steve Clevenger pinch hit for Nick Hundley and drew a walk before Jimmy Parades, pinch hitting for Jonathan Schoop, doubled down the right field line to walk it off.
We immediately turned to our left to watch the Yankee fan, just moments earlier celebrating Kelly Johnson’s strike out in an embarrassingly unbearable fashion, sitting with his hands in his head, processing what had just happened. His three friends, who were all cheering for the walk off, didn't even ride him like he deserved. They knew better. The O’s were on their way to the division title and the Yankees would be sitting at home come September 29.