NEW YORK — The Orioles didn’t attempt to put in a bid this offseason for Japanese pitching sensation Masahiro Tanaka, knowing that they wouldn’t come close to what the New York Yankees and other clubs would offer for the ready-made ace.
Instead, they watched quietly as Tanaka signed a seven-year, $155 million deal with the Yankees and promptly began carving up nearly every one of his major league opponents.
But the Orioles, somehow, haven’t been caught up in the excellence surrounding Tanaka — not yet anyway.
With their 8-0 victory Sunday in the rubber match of the three-game series, the Orioles (39-35) moved into a second-place tie with the Yankees (39-35) while handing Tanaka just his second loss of the season. The teams are now 11 / 2 games behind the American League East-leading Toronto Blue Jays (42-35).
The Yankees have dropped just three of Tanaka’s 15 starts this season; one to the Chicago Cubs in May that snapped his 34-game winning streak (including 28 straight regular-season victories in Japan); and now two to the Orioles.
Tanaka (11-2) allowed three runs in seven innings April 9 in his second major league start and didn’t factor in the Orioles’ 5-4 victory at Yankee Stadium.
On Sunday, he was tagged with the loss, again giving up three runs in seven innings. It was just the fourth time this season that he had allowed at least three earned runs in a start; he has never given up more in a major league game.
One of the big culprits Sunday was rookie infielder Jonathan Schoop, who had been 6 for 40 (.150 average) in his past 11 games heading into Sunday.
Schoop hit a two-out homer against Tanaka in the second inning to give the Orioles a 1-0 lead. That might sound familiar. In Tanaka’s April 9 start, Schoop hit a two-out homer in the second for a 1-0 lead. He became the first major leaguer to have two home runs against Tanaka.
Schoop also contributed in the seventh with an RBI groundout, part of a two-run rally after J.J. Hardy singled and Manny Machado doubled with no outs. Caleb Joseph added a sacrifice fly.
Hardy’s three-run double against reliever Adam Warren helped break the game open in a four-run eighth that included an RBI single by Machado.
In the top of the ninth, Joseph homered to left against David Huff, the first major league home run of the rookie catcher’s career. Joseph, of course, initially got the silent treatment in the dugout after his milestone homer.
The eight runs were the Orioles’ most since they won, 8-3, over the Texas Rangers on June 3. They beat the Houston Astros, 9-4, two days earlier. In reality, the Orioles needed just one with the way Chris Tillman pitched.
Chris Tillman (6-4) threw seven shutout innings, scattering four hits and four walks while striking out two batters.
It was just the second time this season that Tillman has completed seven innings in consecutive starts; the first coming April 6 and April 11, his second and third outings of the season.
T.J. McFarland threw two scoreless innings to complete the Orioles’ seventh shutout of the season.
Since he lasted just one inning while allowing five runs June 4 in Texas, Tillman has given up just four runs in his past 20 innings (1.80 ERA), spanning three straight quality starts.
The Orioles starters posted a 1.02 ERA in this three-game series at Yankee Stadium.
The Orioles are 4-2 against the Yankees this season — all on the road — and their two biggest wins, in terms of margin of victory, have been against New York. It also is the first time the Orioles have won three straight road series in a season since July-August 2012.
— Baltimore Sun