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O's feeling grand, slam door on Yanks in 14th

April 6, 2018

NEW YORK -- Unbelievable. An early April classic. You had to see-it-to-believe-it. Friday night's game between the Orioles and Yankees had it all: big homers, unusual reviews, injuries and game-saving defensive plays. But when the dust finally settled on the five-hour marathon matchup, with one stroke of Pedro Alvarez's bat

NEW YORK -- Unbelievable. An early April classic. You had to see-it-to-believe-it. Friday night's game between the Orioles and Yankees had it all: big homers, unusual reviews, injuries and game-saving defensive plays. But when the dust finally settled on the five-hour marathon matchup, with one stroke of Pedro Alvarez's bat in the wee hours of Saturday morning, the O's found themselves in uncharted territory: their first win streak.
Getting there was no small feat. Alvarez's slam -- his first since June 30, 2012, as a member of the Pirates -- lifted the O's to 7-3 win in 14 innings after nine scoreless innings, plenty of frustration and a clinic by some of their relievers. In his first game since Monday, Alvarez sent the first pitch he saw from Jonathan Holder -- the Yankees' eighth pitcher of the night -- over the fence in right-center field. The win marked the Orioles' second successive win in the Bronx after dropping five in a row entering the series.
"We played some good teams, seen some good pitching. Some of those games could have gone either way, you know?," said Alvarez, who entered as a pinch-hitter in the 10th and recorded two hits. "Obviously, these two wins are very good -- very good quality wins against a very good team. Any time we can come up on the winning side, especially against a team like the Yankees, it's a big plus."
Grand slams mean 40% off pizza
But it wasn't just Alvarez's swing that kept the O's in the win column. There was plenty of kudos to go around in the visiting dugout, to everyone from Manny Machado -- who hit his first two homers of the season and reached base six times -- and Rule 5 Draft pick Pedro Araujo, who spent most of last year in Class A and pitched two scoreless innings before closer Brad Brach finished the 14th.

"I feel very happy," said Araujo, who picked up his first career Major League win. "I think there is some trust there. So I feel very happy about the opportunity."
It wouldn't have even gotten to the rookie righty had it not been for Mychal Givens, who followed up his best inning of the season in the 10th with one of the craziest in recent memory.
Coming on in a 3-3 game, Givens, who struck out Brett Gardner, Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton in the 10th, uncorked a wild pitch and then showed off his athleticism in blocking Didi Gregorius' dash home. The inning, extended after a replay review overturned the double-play call on Ronald Torreyes' ball, saw the Yankees also challenge the play at the plate.
"Seems to always have a lot of drama here. You deal with it," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said of the crazy 11th. "That's the roller coaster you are on during the season. You can want something too much sometimes."
Machado homered twice off Yankees starter Carsten Sabathia to give the O's early leads. Chris Davis also connected for his first homer of the season and Sabathia exited with a right hip injury after just 58 pitches.
O's starter Kevin Gausman, coming off a shaky debut, went five solid innings. The righty held the Yankees to two runs and showcased a tick better fastball velocity, striking out three and scattering five hits, including Stanton's leadoff sixth-inning single to end his night.
The O's bullpen took over from there, with Miguel Castro -- in his second inning -- surrendering a one-out game-tying homer to Gregorius in the eighth inning. It was the only hit allowed by Castro over his 2 1/3 innings and the lone run given up in relief.
"It motivates us," Machado said of watching the Orioles' pitchers get out of several key spots. "We go out there and we make big outs, and they make big outs for us. Just the motivation to go in there and do something for them, do something for the team, productive. Just that adrenaline rush from defense going to offense always help. Those are the innings that you get those big runs and big rallies in."
Twice as nice: Machado's five career homers off Sabathia are his most against any pitcher, and the O's shortstop enjoyed the 15th multi-homer game of his career as he went deep in the first and third innings. Machado slugged a 78.3-mph slider into the second deck in left field to open scoring, then launched an 88.8-mph fastball into the visiting bullpen to briefly give Baltimore another lead. More >

Stop right there: With two out in the 11th and Christopher Austin at the plate, Givens uncorked a wild pitch that sent Gregorius dashing home from third base. Givens received the throw from catcher Caleb Joseph in time to slap the tag on Gregorius, who never reached home plate because of Givens' sliding block. The Yankees challenged, but it was determined that Givens did not violate the home plate collision rule. More >

MLB has no plate-blocking rules for non-catchers and Givens -- even if he was a catcher -- would have been protected under the rules as he was making a legitimate attempt to catch Jospeh's toss. Joseph, who was robbed of a game-winning homer by Judge in the 13th, made a perfect shovel pass for Givens to put down the tag.
"We challenged, obviously, the blocking of the plate," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. "I thought he did block the plate before he got there. We certainly thought that. But I understand that's a difficult call to make in that situation. It didn't go our way."
"We're starting to swing the bat a little bit, playing as a team, doing the little things that count. Hopefully, we continue it." -- Machado

The Yankees successfully challenged a call at first base in the 11th inning, as Torreyes was initially ruled out on the back end of a 5-4-3 double play. After a review, it was determined that Torreyes' right foot touched the base before first baseman Trey Mancini received the throw and the call was overturned.

Showalter unsuccessfully lobbied for a double play to be called in the sixth inning, noting Rule 5.06(b) after Neil Walker's tapper back to the mound off Richard Bleier involved Stanton in a rundown between third base and home plate.
Gary Sanchez reached third before Stanton touched the bag, running into foul territory in left field. Catcher Joseph tagged both Stanton and Sanchez. Showalter held up two fingers, telling crew chief Jerry Meals that Sanchez should also be called out, as the rules indicate that he may be deemed to have passed Stanton.

"[Third-base umpire Ron Kulpa] thought he abandoned the base by going past it. So, in his mind there was never two guys on the bag," Showalter said of the reasoning behind the call. "Because we tagged the right guys. We worked on that in the spring, about who was out and who wasn't out, and what you want to get the guys to do. I thought our guys did it perfect. I had a couple points that I thought made their points questionable, but it worked out."
Meals concurred with Showalter. "Sanchez should have been out automatically for passing Stanton," he said. "Then, Stanton had the right to come back and touch third before being tagged or be called out for abandoning his effort."
Right-hander Chris Tillman will look to rebound when he starts against the Yankees on Saturday at 1:05 p.m. ET. Tillman took the loss as he allowed four earned runs and four walks over four innings against the Astros in his season debut.
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Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for since 2010. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast.