BALTIMORE -- The Orioles don't care much about preseason projections, as they're typically picked at or near the bottom of the American League East, and 2017 was no different. But once again, the O's -- who reeled off seven wins to start last year -- find themselves the early divisional
BALTIMORE -- The Orioles don't care much about preseason projections, as they're typically picked at or near the bottom of the American League East, and 2017 was no different. But once again, the O's -- who reeled off seven wins to start last year -- find themselves the early divisional leaders.
Backed by another outstanding effort from their bullpen, and a clutch hit from Hyun Soo Kim, the Orioles roared back to a 5-4 series-clinching victory over the Yankees on Saturday that makes them a perfect 4-0. The O's are the only undefeated team remaining in the Majors.
"Yeah, we've got a shot at 162 right?" Orioles manager Buck Showalter joked. "No. There are 158 games left. Every game you want to win. I'd rather win the first four than lose the first four, but ... we'll take each challenge as it comes."
Baltimore, trailing all afternoon, tied things up on Mark Trumbo's one-out single off Dellin Betances in the seventh inning. The big knock easily scored Chris Davis, who doubled off reliever Tommy Layne. Kim came through next with a two-out single, punching a ball into right field to give the Orioles the lead.
"We had our chances to win these last couple of games," Betances said. "We let them slip away. It's tough. We've got to bounce back tomorrow."
The loss hurt the Yanks in more ways than one. Star catcher Gary Sanchez left the game with a right biceps strain sustained on a foul ball in the fifth inning. Sanchez will be placed on the 10-day disabled list, and there is no immediate timetable for his recovery.
Masahiro Tanaka bounced back from a rough Opening Day start to give New York five decent frames. After cruising early, Tanaka was able to avoid the big innings despite a few jams, allowing three runs on six hits and four walks with two hit batsmen.
"Compared to the Opening Day start, I think it was a bit better," Tanaka said through an interpreter. "Obviously it was a grind, but I feel that there were some positives in the game. I tried to correct some of the things that didn't go well."
Orioles starter Kevin Gausman gave up four runs on eight hits and three walks over 4 2/3 innings.
"From the first pitch on, trying to figure out my mechanics, figure out what I needed to do with my front side, thought I was hitting a little too quick, but maybe I was hitting a little bit too slow," Gausman said. "I don't know. I'll have to look at the video."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
From zero to hero: After striking out in a big spot with the bases loaded in the fifth, Kim came through in the seventh. The second-year Oriole, who picked up his first RBI of the season, had three hits on the afternoon. While Baltimore's bullpen has yet to allow a run this season, the Yankees' relief corps have given up four.
"I was relieved that I got that last hit," Kim said through an interpreter. "I wasn't happy with the call [on the strikeout]. It just happens. I wanted to do something good, and it just happened."
Sanchez exits: While it didn't have any direct impact on the score, the Yankees may have lost far more than Saturday's game if Sanchez is out for any significant length of time. The young catcher hit his first homer of the season in Friday's loss and will leave a big hole for New York behind the plate. Kyle Higashioka will be recalled from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to join the team on Sunday.
"Injuries are part of the game," Sanchez said. "I feel positive. I want to stay positive. I want to get back as soon as possible and help the team." More >
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The Orioles' bullpen has not allowed a run over its first 16 2/3 innings this season, with closer Zach Britton working around a Matthew Holliday single in the ninth to extend his converted saves streak to 52.
Holliday notched his 2,000th career hit with a first-inning single. Holliday is the 20th player to reach the 2,000-hit milestone as a Yankee; the last to do so was Alfonso Soriano in 2013.
The Orioles successfully challenged Trumbo's double-play ball in the fifth inning, which was overturned as Trumbo was deemed safe at first. Baltimore's third run scored on the fielder's choice.
The Yankees successfully used a manager's challenge to overturn a Joey Rickard stolen base in the seventh inning. Rickard was ruled out, ending the inning.
Yankees:Carsten Sabathia (1-0, 0.00 ERA) will make his second start of the season on Sunday at 1:35 p.m. ET, as the Yankees conclude their three-game series at Camden Yards. Sabathia picked up the Yanks' first win of the year with five scoreless innings against the Rays at Tropicana Field on Tuesday.
Orioles:Wade Miley will make his season debut on Sunday after starting the season on the 10-day DL. Miley, who was slowed with illness this spring, is entering his first full season with Baltimore after being an in-season acquisition in 2016.
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Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast.
Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.