Orioles return home for opener after Santander's throw home preserves win over Yankees - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

Orioles return home for opener after Santander’s throw home preserves win over Yankees

NEW YORK—Orioles manager Brandon Hyde can’t wait for today’s opener. The Orioles have already played six games in Boston and New York and will play before fans at Oriole Park at Camden Yards for the first time since September 22, 2019.

The team’s home opener comes after a thrilling 4-3, 11-inning victory over the Yankees that was preserved on the final play when rightfielder Anthony Santander threw out Gio Urshela at the plate after catching D.J. LeMahieu’s liner to right. It was the perfect ending to a six-game road trip to start the season.

“I think when you start the season on the road, it does feel like you haven’t been home in a long time,” Hyde said. “I’m just looking forward to Camden Yards and having fans there, to having people in the seats and having our players experience fans in the stands at home. It’s been a while, and I know everyone is looking forward to that.

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“Probably the biggest thing in our clubhouse that everybody is looking forward to is Opening Day at home, and having people there, which we haven’t seen since ’19.”

Matt Harvey will start against Boston’s Eduardo Rodriguez at 3:05 p.m.

Harvey is one of 19 members of the 26-man roster who haven’t played before fans on Opening Day as an Oriole. It’s his second start at Camden Yards; on May 11, 2019, while pitching for the Los Angeles Angels, Harvey allowed two runs in four innings of a 7-2 Angels win.

“You have to look at it as a normal start,” Harvey said. “I obviously know it’s the home opener, and it’s extremely exciting. I’ve been fortunate enough to pitch in a lot of ballparks, a lot of new ballparks. It’s an honor to wear the Baltimore jersey, pitch for the home opener. It’s a big league game. You have to go out there, no matter where you are, and get people out. That’s what I’m going to do.”

Harvey developed a good first impression of Oriole Park.

“I enjoyed playing there,” he said. “It’s an incredible ballpark. It was a good first experience. I’m looking forward to it and the next six months, or however long it is. I think being a veteran, you learn how to manage different mounds, different stadiums.”

John Means, who started on Opening Day in Boston on April 2, will enjoy being a spectator.

“It’s always fun to run down that orange carpet,” Means said. “You don’t get to when you pitch. I love doing that. It’s such a cool day in Baltimore. It’s such a good time. I can’t wait for it. It’s going to be fun to come back home. I love that place.”

Orioles break through at Yankee Stadium: Chance Sisco’s opposite-field single to left scored Rio Ruiz in the 11th inning and lifted the Orioles to their 4-3 victory on Wednesday night before 10,254. The win broke the Orioles’ 12-game losing streak at Yankee Stadium and was saved by Santander’s perfect throw home in the bottom of the inning.

Freddy Galvis’ bunt moved Ruiz, who was the automatic runner at second, to third, and Sisco, who was 1-for-8 with six strikeouts, dropped an RBI single in front of Yankees leftfielder Brett Gardner.

In the bottom of the 11th, Santander threw out Urshela, who tried to score the tying run on LeMahieu’s liner to right, to end the game.

“They hit the ball to the right guy,” Hyde said. “He made a really strong throw.”

César Valdez pitched 2 1/3 innings for the win.

“You get four hits through 11 innings to the New York Yankees, you’re not usually going to get a win,” Hyde said.

Means, who started and pitched 4 2/3 innings, was in the clubhouse, watching the end on television.

“I was going nuts,” Means said. “I knew they were sending him, and I just had a feeling that [Santander] was going to throw on the money if he did. He’s such a good outfielder. There’s no rush in his movements. He’s just so calm and collected, and then just fired it home. It was fun to watch.”

Their last Orioles win at Yankee Stadium was on March 31, 2019, Means’ first major league win.

“It feels good to beat these guys,” Means said. “It’s been a while, beating them in their own place. I thought we showed some guts today, avoiding the sweep, just going out and playing. That was such a gritty game the whole way through. I’m really proud of our guys.”

Two of the Orioles’ four hits were home runs. Cedric Mullins and Santander homered in the fourth inning.

Shawn Armstrong retired the first two Yankees batters in the eighth. Ryan Mountcastle misplayed Gary Sanchez’s drive to left to extend the inning. Urshela’s double scored pinch-runner Mike Tauchman with the tying run.

Hyde said he hadn’t seen a replay of Mountcastle’s play.

“It came hot off the bat. It was hooking. It was windy,” Hyde said. “I don’t want to comment on that until I see it again. Ryan is going to make some mistakes in left field. He’s played there for a month. He did a nice job in left field last year. He’s continuing to grow. He’s continuing to learn ballparks and how to understand how to play the outfield. It’s not a finished product yet by any means.

“He’s going to make mistakes. That’s OK. We’re going to live with them. We believe in the player.”

Hyde sent Ryan McKenna to left as a defensive replacement in the 10th inning.

The Orioles took a 3-2 lead in the top of the 10th when Gleyber Torres’ throwing error allowed Santander to score. In the bottom of the 10th, Kyle Higashioka’s RBI single tied it at 3.

Means allowed a run on seven hits in 4 2/3 innings. It was his sixth consecutive start in which he allowed one or fewer runs, tying the Orioles’ record set by Jim Palmer in 1978.

The Orioles are 4-2. They struck out 17 times. In their last four games, they’ve struck out at least 13 times, a franchise record.

Notes: Bruce Zimmermann will start Saturday night against Garrett Richards. Jorge López will start against Nick Pivetta on Sunday. … Hyde said that outfielder DJ Stewart, who’s on the 10-day injured list because a strained left hamstring, is nearing a return. He’s eligible to play on Sunday.

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