Sports

Gio Urshela saves day off bench as Yankees rally past Orioles

BALTIMORE — When things are going poorly for the Yankees, there’s no elixir like a trip to Camden Yards.

It proved to be the case again Friday night, on a day when the Yankees were coming off an ugly defeat at Tampa Bay, still dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak, lost two key members of the lineup to potentially significant injuries and then seemed headed to another defeat.

That’s when Gio Urshela, who started the game on the bench as he deals with left knee soreness, saved the day.

Urshela’s three-run, pinch-hit homer in the top of the seventh gave the Yankees the lead, and they held on for a 5-4 victory over the Orioles to open the series.

Without Gleyber Torres (COVID-19 injured list), Aaron Hicks (injured left wrist) and Giancarlo Stanton (left quad tightness), the Yankees couldn’t hit, field or run the bases for most of the first seven innings.

Outside of a pair of Aaron Judge solo homers, they had little going for them, and were trailing by two runs heading into the seventh.

But with one out, Miguel Andujar came up with his first hit of the season and Kyle Higashioka walked to knock Cole Sulser out of the game.

Yankees
Aaron Judge celebrates his home run in the Yankees win over the Orioles on Friday.
AP

With Tyler Wade due up, Aaron Boone went to Urshela, and Baltimore countered with another right-hander, Travis Lakins Sr.

Urshela fouled off four straight 2-2 pitches and then homered on the ninth pitch of the at-bat. The three-run home gave the Yankees their first lead since early in the game.

Judge hit his ninth home run with two out in the top of the first to give the Yankees a quick 1-0 lead, but Corey Kluber gave it back by allowing a solo shot to Austin Hays in the bottom of the inning. Kluber avoided more damage because Higashioka had thrown out Cedric Mullins on a stolen base attempt before Hays’ shot.

Judge put the Yankees ahead 2-1 in the fourth with his second homer of the night, but the Yankees had a chance to add more before Clint Frazier’s latest baserunning blunder cost them.

Frazier singled with one out and Brett Gardner followed with a single to left-center, with his line drive eluding a diving Mullins.

Frazier, however, badly misread the play. He apparently thought Mullins caught the ball and headed back to first, allowing Hays to pick up the ball and left and throw to second for the force.

Kluber found his groove after the homer to Hays, allowing just a walk to DJ Stewart in the second before Stewart reached again to lead off the fifth on an odd play.

Stewart hit a liner to right. Judge dove and nearly made the catch, but the ball fell in and Stewart tried to get to second.

He initially appeared to be out, but Wade dropped the ball. The Yankees challenged the play though Stewart clearly was safe.

Stewart scored on a double by Pedro Severino. Pat Valaika followed with a base hit up the middle to drive in Severino and give Baltimore a 3-2 lead.

Trey Mancini’s double to right scored Valaika, but the Yankees threw out Hays at the plate to keep it a two-run game.

After Urshela’s blast made it 5-4, Chad Green took over for Kluber, who had allowed four runs in six innings, and tossed a scoreless seventh.

Lefty Wandy Peralta retired the side in order in the eighth, but Stewart led off the ninth with a single before Boone went to Jonathan Loaisiga in place of the heavily-used Aroldis Chapman.

Loaisiga got a double play from Maikel Franco and a pop out by Severino to end it.

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