BALTIMORE — With the eyes of the baseball world fixed on Camden Yards for the first time in eight years, the Orioles didn’t disappoint in their moment in the spotlight.
Over the course of a 162-game season, some wins can get lost, but the Orioles’ 4-2 victory over the New York Yankees on Sunday night was one that will likely last in the hearts of the fans in Baltimore for a while.
For the first time since July 31, 2005, the Orioles hosted “Sunday Night Baseball,” ESPN’s hand-picked weekly showcase game. And in front of a national audience, playing the only game on the schedule at the time, the burgeoning Orioles unveiled their promise – and power — to the baseball world while sweeping the struggling Yankees out of town.
The ESPN broadcast spent most of the night highlighting the Orioles’ blossoming stars — first baseman Chris Davis and third baseman Manny Machado – and the pair did their share to write the perfect TV script.
The Orioles — who lead the majors with 115 homers — hit three solo home runs against Yankees right-hander Hiroki Kuroda, including Davis’s major league-leading 31st of the season and Machado’s first homer in 219 at bats, in front of an announced crowd of 40,878 that included Orioles managing partner Peter Angelos watching from his suite.
Moments before closer Jim Johnson brought the tying run to the plate and ultimately recorded the final out of the night for his 100th save, the crowd began chanting “Sweep the Yankees” and a weak grounder to second base ended the game, sending the Orioles to their fourth straight win and the Yankees down the steps of the visiting dugout having been dominated.
Against a New York team devoid of its typical star power, the Orioles (47-36) completed a three-game home sweep of the Yankees for the first time since April 15-17, 2005. The Orioles entered the weekend just one game ahead of the Yankees for second place in the AL East standings, but Sunday’s win over New York sent the Yankees (43-40) into fourth place in the division.
The also win marked the Orioles’ fifth straight against the Yankees at home for the first time since Oct. 3, 1981 to June 21, 1983, when the O’s took 10 straight from New York in Baltimore.
The last time the Orioles played on “Sunday Night Baseball,” Kuroda tossed a complete-game shutout against the O’s at Yankee Stadium on April 14.
It wouldn’t go as smoothly for Kuroda – who had allowed just nine homers in his previous 16 starts this season — this time.
Machado, who also hit his major league-leading 38th double of the season, hit his first homer since May 5 in the first inning.