Gil proves mortal as Yankees drop series to O's

Rookie knocked out in 2nd by Baltimore, now a half-game back of New York in AL East

June 21st, 2024

NEW YORK -- is human after all.

Before Thursday’s game against the Orioles, Gil was the Yankees’ best starter. After 14 starts, Gil led the Majors in opponents' batting average (.160) and was fourth with a 2.03 ERA.

The Orioles didn’t get the memo. Gil was out of the game after 1 1/3 innings as Baltimore won, 17-5, and ended up taking two of three games at Yankee Stadium. New York has a half-game lead over Baltimore in the American League East entering Friday night’s action against the Braves.

“They are a good club. We saw that last year,” Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge said about the Orioles. “They have some great young players. They play hard. They play fast. They have some great arms, starting pitching and a bullpen.

“It's fun competing against those guys. They bring it every single day. Even like today. They came out swinging early on. They had some early success against Gil. We really couldn't answer back after that."

In his first start against the Orioles on May 1, Gil had his way, pitching 6 1/3 scoreless innings in the Yankees' only win of the four-game series at Camden Yards. It was a different story more than a month later at home.

Gil’s problems started with the first batter of the game. Gunnar Henderson hit a liner at right fielder Juan Soto. At first, it looked like Soto was going to catch the ball, but it went over his head for a double. Henderson ended up scoring on a two-out single by Ryan O’Hearn.

The following inning was even worse for Gil. The Orioles were aggressive on the fastball. Gil was able to get only one out as the Orioles scored six runs and was replaced by Michael Tonkin. Cedric Mullins highlighted the scoring with a two-run homer off Gil, who saw his ERA jump to 2.77.

"[Gil’s] got great stuff. We knew that,” Orioles designated hitter Ryan O’Hearn said. “He got us last time at home, but I think we just had a good game plan going in, trying to make sure we got him in the zone and kind of [hit] low line drives and pass the bat to the next guy and at least not trying to hit home runs. Just trying to keep the line moving-type of deal.”

Gil felt he let the team down, believing there are more innings ahead of him to be a successful pitcher.

“Today I missed pitches. They were not exactly where I wanted them and [the Orioles] didn’t miss. They took advantage of it. But it’s definitely a learning experience,” Gil said through interpreter Marlon Abreu. “Tomorrow, I’ll sit down calmly, I’ll go over the video and everything I need to look at in order to make the adjustments and be ready for the next outing.”

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Yankees' streak of having their starters go at least four innings is over after 76 games. It was the seventh-longest season-opening streak by any team since 1900.

“It happens. That’s baseball. You are going to have those outings like that. [Gil] has been so huge in our success throughout the season,” Judge said. “… Every five days, [you] check the [box score and you see] 10 K’s for seven innings. Days like this happen.”

Even though it was a game to forget, Gil stayed in the dugout rooting for the Yankees.

“As a team seeing him, he was in the dugout with the boys, supporting us even though we couldn’t come back and get the win,” Judge said. “That just speaks volumes to what type of person he is and how much he cares for this team.”

New York’s bullpen didn’t fare much better than Gil. The team used seven relievers -- including catcher Jose Trevino -- who combined to allow 10 runs (seven earned) in 7 2/3 innings. O'Hearn highlighted the scoring with four RBIs.