BALTIMORE—Bruce Zimmermann’s shortest start of the season put the Orioles behind early on Tuesday night, and there was little they could do about it.
Zimmermann allowed nine hits, many of them on hard hit balls, and the Orioles lost to Corey Kluber and the New York Yankees, 5-1, before 6,662 at Oriole Park.
New York (10-13) snatched the lead in the first when leadoff batter DJ LeMahieu doubled, moved to third on a single by Aaron Judge and scored on Gio Urshela’s sacrifice fly to center.
Judge hit his fifth home run of the season in the third. In the fourth, Kyle Higashioka, who’ll now catch more regularly than Gary Sanchez, homered with one out.
LeMahieu and Giancarlo Stanton singled with two outs, and Judge walked, ending Zimmermann’s night. Gio Urshela singled against Orioles reliever Dillon Tate, and LeMahieu scored. However, Stanton was thrown out at the plate by Austin Hays, who threw out Judge at third in the eighth inning on Monday night.
“He just left some balls out over the plate,” manager Brandon Hyde said about Zimmermann. “He had a lot of hard contact early, battled through the first three innings, and we were still in the game … It wasn’t the best night for him.”
Zimmermann (1-3) was charged with four runs in 3 2/3 innings against a tough Yankees lineup.
“It’s probably one of the best in baseball despite how their record is,” Zimmermann said. “You know they’re going to break out eventually. You just don’t get a break through that lineup.”
The Orioles (10-13) were dominated by Kluber (1-2), who allowed a run on six hits in 6 2/3 innings, walking two and striking out nine. He won his first game since April 20, 2019 and is 4-1 with a 2.73 ERA in eight lifetime starts against the Orioles.
Kluber missed most of 2019 because of a broken arm and pitched only one inning for Texas last year before he was shut down by a shoulder injury.
“I thought he located well. I thought he made it tough on our hitters,” Hyde said.
Kluber started three times for the Cleveland Indians against the Chicago Cubs in the 2016 World Series when Hyde was Chicago’s first base coach.
“More like a pitcher tonight,” Hyde said. “Corey Kluber, back when I saw him, five years ago, it was power two-seam, power breaking ball. Five years later, he’s gone through some things, and he’s pitching. He’s pitching extremely well. He utilized all of his pitches and made it really tough on our guys.”
First baseman Trey Mancini had the Orioles’ first hit, a leadoff double in the fourth. After DJ Stewart grounded to second, Mancini scored on Maikel Franco’s single.
Tate pitched 2 2/3 innings and allowed Stanton’s 434-foot home run to center in the seventh to give New York a 5-1 lead.
Ryan Mountcastle singled to start the seventh. With one out, shortstop Pat Valaika hit a long drive to right that Judge caught, jumping in front of the grounds crew shed, taking away at least an extra-base hit. After centerfielder Cedric Mullins singled, Jonathan Loaisiga got Mancini to ground out, ending the last Orioles’ threat.
Jay Flaa became the 20th player from North Dakota to reach the major leagues when the 28-year-old right-hander pitched a scoreless 1 1/3 inning, walking two, getting Stanton to hit into a double play and striking out Judge to end the top of the ninth.
“It was pretty surreal being out there,” Flaa said. “There were obviously a lot of emotions building up to that. It was like not really worrying about who was in the box, I had enough going on with controlling my heart rate.
“Coming back to the clubhouse now, and having guys coming up and congratulating me, that means a lot to me and everything. As far as this experience sinking in, I don’t know that it will for quite some time.”
After the game, the Orioles returned Flaa, a sixth-round draft choice in 2015, to the alternate training site at Double-A Bowie because they needed to make room for Dean Kremer, who will start against the Yankees on Wednesday night.
Notes: Flaa is the fifth Oriole to debut this year, following Rule 5 right-handers Mac Sceroler and Tyler Wells, left-hander Zac Lowther and outfielder Ryan McKenna. … Catcher Chance Sisco threw out Gleyber Torres attempting to steal in the fifth. Sisco has thrown out all four runners attempting to steal this season. … The Orioles had won their last four games against the Yankees at home.