Wild-card leading Orioles shine during rainy NY night
NEW YORK — Buck Showalter was scoreboard watching through a fine, steady rain that gave Yankee Stadium a film noir feel.
"I had no choice, because it was right behind the pitcher's head," the Orioles manager said.
He got to see Baltimore keep up its late surge while monitoring Toronto's stumble in Boston.
Mark Trumbo hit his major league-leading 47th home run, Jonathan Schoop and Adam Jones also went deep in a six-run fifth inning and the Orioles beat New York 8-1 on Friday night to open a one-game lead over the Blue Jays for the AL's two wild cards.
Baltimore remained 1 1/2 games in front of Detroit, with Seattle another half-game back.
Two games are left, and the Orioles' magic number for a postseason berth is two.
"It's definitely a position that you want to be in," Trumbo said.
Trumbo and Jones homered off Michael Pineda (6-12), who started with 3 2/3 hitless innings and suddenly became ineffective.
Schoop tied his career high with five RBIs, hitting a go-ahead, two-run double in the fourth and a three-run homer in the fifth against James Pazos.
Baltimore has won three in a row and six of seven. The Orioles lead the major leagues with 250 home runs and have hit three or more in an inning 10 times.
"I think beyond the regular season we're going to see pitching that's going to be top of the line, and it's important against that caliber to be able to scrap together some runs that may be a little harder to come by at times," Trumbo said.
Yovani Gallardo (6-8) won for just the second time in nine starts since Aug. 5, allowing two hits, three walks and Mark Teixeira's sacrifice fly in six innings.
"It's obviously just hard to grip the ball," Gallardo said. "Slipping off the mound."
There were maybe 1,000 people in the seats among the announced crowd of 33,955 when the game began, and there was standing water on the warning track. Only about 200 stayed in the seats for the final out.
Yankees second baseman Ronald Torreyes, center fielder Eric Young Jr. and first baseman Tyler Austin slipped to the turf while attempting to field balls. Third baseman Chase Headley splashed into a puddle in front of Baltimore's dugout chasing a foul popup and Torreyes, having moved to shortstop, snagged Chris Davis' wind-blown seventh-inning pop about 10 feet from home plate.
"It was just ugly. There's no other way to put it," Teixeira said.
Eliminated on Thursday, New York rested two regulars and pulled four others by the sixth inning. Baltimore had lost 11 straight series openers in the Bronx since 2012.
Jones' 29th homer landed in the second deck in left. Schoop doubled high off the right-field wall and homered into the first deck in left. He also had five RBIs on May 14 against Detroit.
Pineda allowed five runs, six hits, two homers and three walks in 4 1/3 innings, finishing with a 4.82 ERA. As Trumbo circled the bases, Pineda took off his cap and scratched his head.
Pineda leads in the AL with 10.6 strikeouts per nine innings but his ERA is 68th among 76 qualifying pitchers in the major leagues.
"It's mind-boggling," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said before the game. "It just doesn't make sense. And you look for reasons, and believe me, we'll look, and I'm sure we'll look a long time this winter."
IN THE DEEP OF THE NIGHT
Baltimore didn't arrive at its hotel until 4 a.m. following its flight from Toronto. Showalter said the team was delayed for 2 hours at the airport before departing.
"We really don't have any idea why," he said. "Couldn't seem to get the luggage and the equipment on the plane. They held our equipment people at the gate forever."
The Blue Jays headed to Boston to finish their schedule.
"No conspiracies. I'm sure the Toronto Blue Jays had the same issue," Showalter said. "Mostly American stuff coming back in on the USA side. But it was a mess. I didn't think we'd ever get here."
LHP Wade Miley (9-13) is scheduled to start for Baltimore on Saturday, when rain again is forecast. He allowed one run in 8 2/3 innings in a 6-1 win over Arizona last weekend. RHP Luis Severino (3-8) is slated to start for New York in place of Masahiro Tanaka (14-4), who missed his previous turn with a right forearm strain. Tanaka finished with 199 2/3 innings.