Lyles dominates Yanks, but O's are eliminated

October 1st, 2022

NEW YORK -- It was a sellout crowd at Yankee Stadium on Friday night, and Orioles right-hander knew the fans wanted to see Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge break Roger Maris' American League single-season home run record of 61 homers.

Unfortunately for the fans, Judge didn't hit a home run in two official plate appearances. But Lyles took advantage of the playoff-type atmosphere and dominated New York in a 2-1 victory.

Despite their surprising season, the Orioles were eliminated from playoff contention after the Mariners defeated the A's, 2-1, and the Rays beat the Astros, 7-3. The Mariners will make their first playoff appearance in 21 years.

It was also Baltimore's 81st victory and assures the team will finish the season with a .500 record for the first time since 2016.

"It just means we exceeded expectations," Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said. "Our guys fought all year long and we are not done yet. We are really happy with the effort with these guys all year. We've proven a lot of people wrong."

Lyles simply dominated the Yankees. He pitched seven-plus innings, allowed one run on four hits and struck out nine batters. Lyles knew in advance he had to go deep because the Orioles were short in the bullpen.       

Up until the fourth inning, Lyles was overpowering the Yankees. He retired 12 of the first 14 hitters he faced. His four-seam and two-seam fastballs, slider and sinker were at their best. Lyles' only blemish was a solo homer to Oswaldo Cabrera in the fifth inning to tie the score at 1. 

"For me, that was Jordan Lyles' best game with this environment," Hyde said. "Every ball [he throws], they are booing like he is striking them out. I get it. They want to see something special. It's understandable as a baseball fan. 

"He is trying to get [Judge] out. He attacked him. [Lyles] threw some really good pitches all night long. But for [Lyles] not to let the moment get to him and to be able to go into the eighth inning against this lineup with this type of crowd and make one mistake, it was an amazing performance."

Lyles was even able to hold Judge homerless in three plate appearances. Judge struck out in the first inning, singled to center two innings later and then drew a walk in the sixth. Judge ended up being walked intentionally with reliever Félix Bautista on the mound in the eighth inning.

"It was awesome. The atmosphere here at the stadium -- so many people," Lyles said. "First batter of the game. It's go time. Everybody knows what's going on and the situation [with Judge]. I threw the first pitch and I kind of settled down. It was an amazing atmosphere. Probably not an empty seat out there. Us players, we get up for those types of games."

The Orioles gave Lyle the lead for good in the sixth inning. The score was tied at 1 and the bases were loaded when reliever Zack Britton threw a wild pitch, allowing  to score.

"A win is a win," Lyles said. "I know Yankees fans were looking for something else, but we have a young and talented team. We care about winning. We care about supporting the next person. We did a good job -- nine innings worth."

Lyles sounded like a guy who would like to be with the Orioles next year. He has an $11 million option for 2023.

"Us older guys, we might not be here in the future. But the city of Baltimore is in good hands," he said.