Nathan Eovaldi and the bullpen led the Yankees to a 3-2 win over the Baltimore Orioles

Brendan Ryan

Brendan Ryan

Brendan Ryan hit an RBI double in the sixth inning that ended up giving the Yankees a 3-2 win over the Baltimore Orioles in the series opener. That was Ryan’s fifth hit of the season (5-17) and it was a clutch hit after standing four in his first two at-bats. Ryan hit a double to right down the third base line to drive in Didi Gregorius.

“I just tried to get my foot down and get my barrel to the ball,” Ryan said. “I had a few opportunities today and couldn’t come through, but I was glad I was able to come through to put us up by one.”

The Toronto Blue Jays won last night, so the Yankees now have a 4.5 game lead over Toronto for first place and the Orioles and Tampa Bay Rays are five games back. Nathan Eovaldi got the start for the Yankees and he allowed two runs on four hits and three walks in 5.2 innings pitched. He had four strikeouts and has now allowed two earned runs or less in five of his last six starts.

“The split was good early on in the game,” Eovaldi said. “Even as the season has progressed it (the split) has been really good for me. I switched my grip on the split a little earlier on the season so it was like a true split. I want to go deep into ballgames, but our bullpen has been great the whole year. The split has been my pitch, I have been able to throw it in any count.”

A key out for Eovaldi came in the fifth inning when he got Chris Parmelee to ground out to second with runners on first and third with two outs. After not allowing any hits in the first three innings, Eovaldi wasn’t as effective in the fifth and sixth. In the sixth inning, Matt Weiters singled to right off of Eovaldi to score Jimmy Paredes and advance Adam Jones to second. Justin Wilson would then allow an RBI single to JJ Hardy that scored Jones, which was Eovaldi second earned run.

However, Eovaldi did mix his pitches well in addition to throwing 100mph fastballs. Eovaldi helped his own cause in the first inning by picking off Manny Machado at first with an outstanding throw. He has really improved his secondary pitches since allowing eight earned runs to the Marlins on June 16.

The Yankees scored their first run of the game on a sacrifice fly by Alex Rodriguez to left that sent Brett Gardner home. That was A-Rod’s 53rd RBI of the season, and he is on target to have his highest RBI total since the 2010 season. In the second inning, Chase Headley hit a double to the wall in left off of Wei-Yin Chen to score Brian McCann to give the Yankees a 2-0 lead.

Mark Teixeira, Chris Young and Headley all had two hits for the Yankees. Young had two hits off of the lefty starter, and now has a .371 average in 89 at-bats with six homers against southpaws. Headley is now on a six-game hitting streak with three doubles and three RBIs in that span. Teixeira now has three consecutive multi-hit games, which has improved his average from .239 to .252.

The Yankees were only 1-10 with runners in scoring position but they got timely hits and excellent pitching from the bullpen once again.

The Yankees are so much better with a healthy Teixeira this year. “You really appreciate it because you see it on a daily basis,” Joe Girardi said. “It was tough missing him last year but it is great having him back.”

Mark Teixeira made a great scoop on an in between hop on a throw by Gregorius to get the second out of the ninth inning. Jonathan Schoop then struck out swinging on an 84mph slider from Andrew Miller to end the game. Miller now has 21 saves in 21 save opportunities in his first season as a closer.

Including Tuesday’s 3.1 scoreless innings, the bullpen has now not allowed a run in their last 11.1 innings. Dellin Betances recorded the last out of the seventh and pitched the eighth and was able to record two strikeouts. He now has 81 strikeouts in 50.1 innings pitched, which proves how his pitches have been nearly un-hittable.

“He is able to give you multiple outs and he is very durable,” Girardi said. “He just means a ton to our team. I think he understands that when we get to the seventh that we might use him for multiple outs.

The Yankees have won 19 of their last 26 home games.

After their win on Tuesday, Ivan Nova will get the start for the Yankees in Game 2 of the series on Wednesday. He allowed four runs in 6.2 innings in his previous start.

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