Carlos Beltran hasn't been a Yankee for very long, but he already has his signature moment, and it came in the bottom of the 9th inning on Friday night when he launched a three-run homerun into the left field seats, sending the Yankees home with a 5-3 win over the Baltimore Orioles in the series opener of a three-game set at Yankee Stadium.
The Yankees wasted several scoring opportunities throughout the game, leaving the bases loaded in the 2nd, 5th and 6th innings, but still managed to pull of the victory after falling behind in the 6th.
Mark Teixeira put the Yankees up 1-0 in the bottom of the 1st inning with an RBI single to right field to score Jacoby Ellsbury, who reached on an infield single then stole second base. Teixeira is only batting .250 this season, but's still leading the team with 35 RBIs, and is also doing damage with the long ball, leading the team in homeruns as well.
The Yankees threatened again in the 2nd against Jimenez. Carlos Beltran opened the inning with his second double in as many night, and after Ichiro Suzuki struck out, Brian Roberts singled and stole second base ahead of Yangervis Solarte, who walked to load the bases with just one out. The next batter was Brett Gardner, one of the Yankees' hottest hitters, and he flew out to center field. Beltran tried to tag and score from third base, but his limited speed wasn't enough to beat Adam Jones' throw to the plate for an inning-ending double play.
Another big opportunity presented itself to the Yankees in the 5th when Jimenez walked Gardner, Derek Jeter and Ellsbury back-to-back-to-back with two outs to load the bases. But Teixeira followed up by grounding out to first base to end the inning.
Kuroda took a no-hitter into the 6th inning against an always dangerous Orioles lineup. However, Nick Hundley broke of the threat with a double to open the inning, and that's when things went south quickly for Kuroda and the Yankees.
Kuroda got Nick Markakis to fly out for the first out, but then Steve Pearce double to scoring the tying run, even the game at 1-1 and ending the shutout, and Jones followed with a single to drive in Pearce, giving Baltimore a 2-1 lead. In just a span of four batters, Kuroda when from throwing a no-hitter, to trailing in the game, and you just knew that the first two bases loaded failures would come back to bite the Yankees.
So how would the Yankees respond to the O's taking a one-run lead? Well, they loaded the bases again in the bottom half of the 6th. McCann and Beltran got on with a single and a walk, then Ichiro popped out on a bunt, and Roberts fouled out down the first base die in foul territory. Solarte drew his second walk to load the bases, but Gardner, with another opportunity, flew out to end the inning.
Jimenez was knocked out of the game after walking three straight. He tossed 104 pitches in 5.2 innings, but only gave up one run in six hits while walking six and striking out three.
A high pitch count (107) knocked Kuroda out of the game after six innings. He was already at 82 after five innings, so even if he had kept the no-no going, he wouldn't have lasted very long. He was charged, in the end, with two runs on four hits, while walking one and striking out six. A quality outing, but he still took home his 6th loss of the season.
Just for the heck of it, the Yankees put together another one of their "rallies" together in the 8th, when Alfonso Soriano came off of the bench for the pinch-hit, two-out single, then Roberts followed with another single to put two on with two outs for Solarte, who hasn't collected a hit since June 8. As you would expect. he flew out to end the inning, continuing his very long drought -- an 0-for-25 stretch.
Shawn Kelley tossed a scoreless 7th inning, then Kelly, Matt Thornton and Dellin Betances, who only faced one batter, combined for a scoreless 8th inning. David Huff took over in the 9th and the O's tagged him for one more insurance run when Pearce singled him Johnathan Schoop, who reached on a Solarte error, making it a 3-1 game.
The Yankees put together one last rally attempt in the final inning when Gardner opened the 9th inning with a single against Zach Britton and Teixeira drew a two-out walk. McCann followed up with a single to center field, scoring Gardner to put the Yankees within a run, then Beltran sent everybody home with one swing of the bat, hitting a three-run walk-off homerun, the Yankees' first walk-off hit of the season.