This has been the Dream Team versus Angola, the 49ers versus the Broncos, Pujols versus Lidge, Reagan versus Mondale.
The Yankees beat the Orioles 6-5 on Wednesday, finishing their season showdown with 16 consecutive victories and a 17-2 overall record. Along the way, the Yankees hit .303 against the Orioles, averaged 7.95 runs and mashed 61 home runs — shattering the previous record for home runs against one team in a season.
Yes, it was a trouncing. Since teams started playing 19 intradivision games in 2001, this matches the best record for one team against another:
2019 Yankees vs. Orioles: 17-2
2013 Indians vs. White Sox: 17-2
2013 Rangers vs. Astros: 17-2
2006 Athletics vs. Mariners: 17-2
(In an earlier era, the 1986 Mets went 17-1 against the Pirates and the 1974 Braves went 17-1 against the Padres.)
The Yankees outscored the Orioles by 68 runs, their largest run differential against one opponent since 1956 (when they outscored the Washington Senators by 68 runs). Their total of 151 runs is the second highest for one team against an opponent in the divisional era (since 1969):
2017 Yankees vs. Orioles: 154 runs
2019 Yankees vs. Orioles: 151 runs
2002 Diamondbacks vs. Rockies: 146 runs
2016 Cubs vs. Reds: 143 runs
(Thanks to Michael Bonzagni of ESPN Stats & Information for research help.)
With the season series mercifully over, I thought it would be fun to look back at 10 of the top highlights (not so much fun for Orioles fans):
April 4: Gleyber Torres went 4-for-4 with two home runs, a double and four RBIs in an 8-4 Yankees victory. The Orioles actually jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning off James Paxton, but the Yankees would rally behind four home runs. Torres homered off Alex Cobb in the third and hit a three-run shot off Mike Wright in the sixth.
April 6: Clint Frazier hit a three-run homer with two outs in the eighth inning to lift the Yankees to a 6-4 victory. Aaron Judge mashed two home runs off Dylan Bundy. Frazier’s winner came off a 2-2 slider from Miguel Castro and dropped the Orioles to 4-4 on the season. “I just love the fight in our guys,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said. “We’ve just had a couple tough pitches out of the pen recently.” Oh, Brandon, little do you know what would unfold the rest of the season.
April 7: The Yankees mashed seven home runs in a 15-3 victory. Gary Sanchez hit three of them and Frazier had two more. The Yankees had not hit seven home runs in a road game since May 30, 1961, when Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris both went deep twice at Fenway Park.
May 15: The Yankees swept a doubleheader by scores of 5-3 and 3-1, hitting four home runs in the opener and one in the nightcap. All four in Game 1 came off David Hess, including two from Torres, who added another homer in the second game. “It’s too many home runs. It’s embarrassing,” Orioles catcher Austin Wynns said. Hess would end up going 0-3 against the Yankees while serving up 13 home runs in 20 innings.
May 20: The Orioles led 7-6 entering the top of the ninth, but after a tying sacrifice fly, Sanchez belted a three-run home run off Mychal Givens to give the Yankees a 10-7 victory. It was a comedy of errors for the Orioles leading up to Sanchez’s home run. Dwight Smith Jr. made a bad throw in the seventh when he fell for a fake tag-up, Joey Rickard threw to the wrong base in the ninth inning, Smith chucked the ball past the plate on the sac fly and catcher Pedro Severino misplayed a foul pop that preceded Luke Voit’s two-out walk ahead of Sanchez’s home run. Good times. “We are Yankees,” Torres explained after the game. “We have a history, you know what I mean?”
(Maybe this is a good time to point out that the Orioles have won an AL East title more recently than the Yankees. Baltimore won in 2014 and the Yankees haven’t won since 2012.)
May 22: The Yankees hit five home runs, including four off Dan Straily, in a 7-5 win. Torres went deep twice. At this point in the season, Torres had 12 home runs — 10 against the Orioles. “There’s definitely a pitching plan,” Hyde said of his team’s approach with Torres. “It’s definitely not to throw the ball in the middle part of the plate.”
Aug. 5: The score was tied 6-6 in the top of the eighth when Mike Ford hit a go-ahead home run off Paul Fry. Three batters later, Mike Tauchman hit a two-run blast, his second of the game, as the Yankees went yard five times in a 9-6 win. All the home runs overshadowed Jonathan Villar’s hitting for the cycle for the Orioles. At this point, the Yankees had hit 32 home runs at Camden Yards — a major league record for a visiting team. They would hit six more the next day and five more the day after that, finishing with 43.
Aug. 7: Kyle Higashioka went deep twice, Gio Urshela went deep twice and Cameron Maybin added a fifth home run in 14-2 rout. The two-homer games by Higashioka and Urshela made it 11 Yankees who had homered at least twice in a game against the Orioles. (Yes, that’s another record for one team against another.) “We’ve had a lot of guys coming through for us here,” Aaron Boone said in the understatement of the year.
Aug. 12: The Yankees swept another doubleheader, winning 8-5 (four home runs) and 11-8 (three home runs). Torres hit one in the first game and two more in the second. When he came up with runners at first and second in the eighth inning, the Orioles simply issued an intentional walk. Hey, you can see the reasoning: Torres had hit 13 home runs against the Orioles. “I just kind of had enough,” Hyde said. “We’re making him look like a first-ballot Hall of Famer.” Torres would finish .394/.467/1.045 in 18 games against the Orioles with those 13 home runs and 20 RBIs, leaving Orioles announcer Gary Thorne at a loss for words:
Aug. 14: Sanchez hit the only home run in the final game between the teams, and the Yankees held on for the victory. Sanchez finished with 10 home runs in 14 games against Baltimore. “The funny thing is that we’re not thinking about records or anything like that,” Sanchez said. “We’re trying to go out there and have good at-bats.” Bundy summed up how the Orioles felt about things: “We don’t have to play them anymore, so I guess that’s a good thing.”