It was just about a month ago when T.J. McFarland picked up his first MLB victory on the mound in relief of Kevin Gausman; last night it was Gausman's turn as he picked up his first career MLB victory in relief of McFarland as the Baltimore Orioles scored four unanswered runs to take game one of the three game set 4-3.
McFarland was making his first career MLB start and he did not have his best stuff to say the least. His command was out of whack and he found himself in jams right off the bat. Control was not the issue as he only walked one batter, but his command was troublesome as he was missing right over the plate. He lasted just 2 2/3 innings, while allowing three runs on seven hits, one walk and he struck out four.
Gausman (1-3) was the obvious long man in relief out of the pen and he was absolutely phenomenal. He showed the Orioles and the baseball world how good he can be as his fastball and change-up command were superb. Gausman stamped his mark on the game right away as he struck out the first batter he faced to escape the two on, two out jam that McFarland had left him. Kevin proceeded to toss 4 1/3 scoreless innings of relief while allowing just three hits, zero walks and striking out four. The most impressive part of Gausman's performance last night was his demeanor. It was obvious that he had a mission last night to absolutely shutdown the opposition and show the world how good he is, the look of determination on his face will be something Orioles fans will remember for quite some time.
Tommy Hunter tossed the final two innings of the game for the Birds to pick up his second career save, both of which have come this season. Hunter was equally fantastic last night as he gave the rest of the bullpen a night off as he went two innings with just a one run lead and was dominant. He needed just 25 pitches to work his two innings while allowing just one hit, zero walks and striking out three.
Baltimore's offense has picked up a nasty little habit of waiting till about the sixth inning before getting a hit. Yankees starting pitcher CC Sabathia (8-6) had allowed just one base runner and zero hits in the first five innings and had a 3-0 lead, but that all changed in the sixth. Nate McLouth led off with a single to break up the no-hitter and was followed by an Alexi Casilla infield single. After a Nick Markakis pop out, Manny Machado did what Machado does and scorched a two run double to cut the deficit to 3-2.
The biggest play of the game occurred on a JJ Hardy flyball immediately after Machado's double as Manny tagged on the play to get to third with two outs, which is not normally that big of a deal, but when Adam Jones followed with an infield single that allowed Machado to score the tying run, it becomes a big deal.
With Sabathia still in the game in the seventh, the first two Orioles hitters went down without a whimper, but McLouth, the man who broke up Sabathia's no-hit bid the inning before, drilled a solo home run to right field to give the Birds a 4-3 lead.
McLouth led the way offensively for the O's snagging the only multi-hit game for Baltimore as he went 2-3 with the solo homer. Machado picked up two RBI and Jones the other RBI.
Baltimore will look to secure the series win today as they send Zach Britton (1-2) to the mound against Yankees starter David Phelps (5-4). Today will be a big game for the Birds as Hiroki Kuroda will be the starter tomorrow night on ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball.
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