Heaney stung by long ball as O's spoil debut

August 3rd, 2021

It was a bad night all around for the Yankees on Monday at Yankee Stadium. Left-hander pitched his first game as a member of the team, and it was an outing he would like to forget.

To make matters worse, New York had problems with right-hander , who led the Orioles past the Yankees, 7-1, despite entering the game with a 6.19 ERA.

Heaney lasted only four innings, leaving the ball over the middle plate too often as the O's played home run derby, starting in the third inning. He was able to get two quick outs that inning, but something odd happened when Cedric Mullins hit a foul ball down the left-field line. It looked like third baseman Rougned Odor had a chance to make the catch, but it dropped foul between Odor and left fielder Joey Gallo.

The Orioles then made the Yankees pay, with Mullins and Austin Hays hitting back-to-back home runs to give Baltimore a 2-0 lead. An inning later, the O's stretched it to a 4-0 lead, thanks to home runs by Ryan Mountcastle and Ramón Urías. Heaney is the first pitcher in Yanks history to allow four homers in his debut with the team.

“I wasn’t quite as aggressive with some pitches whenever I was falling behind,” Heaney said. “I usually say solo homers don’t beat you. But you give up four of them in four innings, that’s probably going to [beat you]. It’s frustrating to put the team in a hole like that, nor really give us a chance to win there.”

Manager Aaron Boone noticed Heaney’s velocity dipped in the fourth inning.

“When he is good, he has that good life on his fastball where he can get it by you, especially up in the zone,” Boone said. “I thought [the fastball] fell off a little there after a couple of innings. Then he made some mistakes in some nitro spots.”

López, on the other hand, held the Yankees to one hit in six innings. He flirted with a no-hitter for five innings, although he had control problems in those frames, walking five batters and including a hit-by-pitch. López didn’t allow any hits in the fifth inning, when Anthony Rizzo hit a sacrifice fly that scored Gleyber Torres, who walked to start the frame.

“I thought López threw the ball well and didn’t give in,” Boone said. “We were able to create some traffic against him. He ended up walking five guys. We had a couple of opportunities, [but we] weren’t really stinging much on the bat. He was kind of staying away. He made some pitches when he had to.”

Not even a loose cat in left field in the eighth inning could rally the Yankees, who went 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position and stranded nine men on base.

“We weren’t able to mount much swinging the bat, other than creating a little traffic,” Boone said.