Thursday, September 9, 2010, 4:08 PM
A lot has been made about the Orioles trying to sweep the Yankees at Yankee Stadium for the first time since June 1986. So that led me to wonder how close they have been since yesterday they were two outs away before Nick Swisher homered.
Since that sweep, the Yankees are 122-68 at home against the Orioles. The Orioles have attempted to sweep a series of three or more with managers Earl Weaver, Cal Ripken Sr., Frank Robinson, Johnny Oates, Phil Regan, Davey Johnson, Ray Miller, Mike Hargrove, Sam Perlozzo, Lee Mazzilli, Dave Tremblay and Buck Showalter.
After that sweep, the Orioles lost 13 of their next 16 through 1988. In 1989, the Orioles had a surprising run while the Yankees struggled through a 74-win season and lost five of the seven meetings.
They opened the 1989 season in the Bronx with a 16-3 victory but were denied a two-game sweep when Dave LaPoint combined with Dave Righetti on a four-hitter and Dave Schmidt allowed three solo home runs.
An earlier rainout created a five-game series which was the first one at home for manager Bucky Dent. The Orioles held a 1-0 heading into the sixth but Kevin Hickey and Mark Williamson gave up four runs in the eighth. The Orioles then won the next four by outscoring the Yankees, 26-13, concluded their season series at Yankee Stadium by getting a complete game from Bob Milacki and left the Bronx with a 1 ½ game lead over the Blue Jays.
Both teams struggled through 1990 and 1991 and the Yankees won eight of 13 meetings with nothing of note occurring.
In 1992, the Orioles opened their new ballpark and were good again but not good enough in the Bronx, sandwiching a 9-2 victory around two losses in late-April. When they returned in late-July, the Yankees had fallen from the AL East race and the Orioles took the first two games but never overcame a 6-0 deficit and were denied the sweep with a 6-3 loss.
For a while in 1993, the Blue Jays, Yankees, Red Sox, Orioles and Tigers were in the hunt for the AL East.
When the Orioles made their maiden trip to Yankee Stadium that year on May 24, they were 17-25. They took three of four and the only thing standing in their way of a sweep was a 1-0 loss which was settled on a Pat Kelly fifth-inning solo shot off Jamie Moyer. That day Moyer gave up 10 hits in 6 2/3 innings while Bob Wickman gave up three in eight innings.
The Orioles returned in August 63-52 and 2 ½ games behind the Blue Jays. They were swept in the three-game series that featured an outstanding double play, Domingo Jean walking to Yankee Stadium and a Don Mattingly home run just clearing the right field wall.
During the 1994 strike year and the first year of divisional realignment, the Orioles made their first trip in May and lost the first two before taking the finale in 10 innings on Jack Voigt’s two-run double off Xavier Hernandez. In their final three games of the season, a game-winning single by Randy Velarde in the 11th off Mark Eichorn was the only thing standing in their way of the sweep. The Orioles blew a 4-0 lead and then closed out the season with an 8-1 victory by handing Jimmy Key his fourth loss.
In 1995, a season reduced to 144 games, the Orioles stayed below .500 most of the year and lost four of six visits. In the four losses, the Yankees outscored the Orioles, 26-6.
The next year was a season of peaks and valleys in the AL East race for the Orioles. They appeared buried after the July massacre in Baltimore dropped the deficit to 10 games. After splitting a late-June series, the Orioles returned for a three-game set just 2 ½ games back but lost the first game on Ruben Rivera’s 10th inning single off Alan Mills and avoided the sweep with a 10-9 win.
In 1997, the Orioles led the AL East for virtually the entire year and it was their last winning season. In the Bronx, they swept a two-game series that put them at 33-15 and eight ahead of the Yankees. They returned for a September showdown and won the first three but the Yankees got to Mike Mussina and avoided a sweep with a 10-3 victory behind home runs from Paul O’Neill, Jorge Posada, Tim Raines and Bernie Williams.
In 1998, the Yankees won 114 games and six were against the Orioles at home. The most notable game was May 19 when Bernie Williams hit a three-run home run off Armando Benitez. Benitez then hit Tino Martinez and triggered a massive brawl that featured Darryl Strawberry getting Benitez. When the Orioles left the Bronx following three one-run losses in early July, they were 26 ½ games out.
In 1999, the Orioles lost four of the seven trips. They won two blowouts to salvage a four-game split on July 4th weekend and would have had the sweep but went 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position in the opener and then blew a 5-3 lead and lost when Arthur Rhodes gave up a ninth-inning three-run home run to Scott Brosius the following day.
By 2000, the Orioles had begun the process of trading most of their veteran players but in early-May, they hovered around .500 and on the day the Yankees honored Bob Sheppard, they avoided a sweep by scoring three off Mariano Rivera for a 7-6 win. Had the Orioles lost that game they would have had a 13-game losing streak. They returned for July 4 and took the opener against a struggling David Cone but then gave up 25 runs in the other games.
Starting in 2001, the Orioles had an extra series at Yankee Stadium to generate more divisional games. That year, they lost six of eight but the most memorable game was Cal Ripken’s final visit, which took place Sept. 30 and called due to rain with the teams tied at 1-1 after 15 innings. During the five-hour contest, Ripken went 0-for-7.
The following year, the Orioles started off with a 5-4 victory on April 16 when David Segui hit a tying home run off Ramiro Mendoza but were shut down by Orlando Hernandez and David Wells the next nights. In early June, they won a pair of 4-3 games but allowed an eight-run sixth in the middle game that was highlighted by Jason Giambi’s three-run home run and Robin Ventura’s two-run blast. The Orioles returned on the first anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks and were swept in a four-game series.
For some strange reason, the Orioles did make their first 2003 trip to the Bronx until July 23 when they split a two-game series. In late-August, they won the first two and spoiled Ron Guidry Day by getting a six-hitter from Rodrigo Lopez in a 7-2 victory. For that act, the Yankees outscored the Orioles 12-2 for the split. A 91-loss season ended with losing three of four games as Andy Pettitte, Roger Clemens and Wells tuned up for postseason.
In 2004, the Orioles had Mazzilli and a 24-23 record for their first visit but that trip featured two-one run losses, including a game where Jose Contreras did not get out of the first inning and allowed five runs.
When they returned right around the deadline, they were eight games under .500 but Sidney Ponson pitched a four-hitter in the opener, beating Contreras who was traded two days later. The Yankees won the series by getting wins from Javier Vazquez and Kevin Brown.
On Labor Day weekend, the Orioles were close as they won the first two with the opener featuring Brown’s infamous slamming incident. In the finale, Rafael Palmeiro hit a three-run home run in the first but the Orioles never added on and lost it when Jorge Julio walked Posada.
Things started better for the Orioles in 2005 as they stayed in first place for part of the summer. Only an 8-5 loss on April 9 denied them a sweep as Brian Roberts went 5-for-10 with five RBI in the two wins.
When they returned on July 4, the Orioles were 2 ½ behind the Red Sox but took six hours, 50 minutes to give up 25 runs and 31 hits. In September they were gone from the race, Palmeiro was gone, a new manager was in place and the Yankees completed the four-game sweep with three one-run victories.
In 2006, Kris Benson won his return to New York but the Yankees got even with 13 runs in the next two games. The Orioles split the final six games in the Bronx and two of the wins were notable for various reasons.
They were 12-2 winners on August 16 when Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter colliding on a pop-up that dropped between them. Rodriguez described it as a “goofy play” but it further added speculation about the frostiness of their relationship. A month later, the Daniel Cabrera was two outs away from a no-hitter but it was broken up by Robinson Cano.
In 2007, the Orioles opened by taking two of three on the first weekend of a 93-loss season. They were six outs from a 7-3 victory but Danys Baez gave up a three-run home run to Giambi in the eighth and Chris Ray gave up a grand slam to Rodriguez in the ninth and the Yankees walked away with a 10-7 victory.
The same scenario but not a home run burned the Orioles when they returned in August. They lost the opener when Derek Jeter hit an RBI ground out off Chad Bradford in a game they scored off Rivera. After a 12-0 win, the Orioles scored three in the 10th off Rivera as Aubrey Huff hit a two-run home run. That game also saw the Orioles blow a 3-0 lead when Shelley Duncan hit a three-run shot off Jamie Walker in the ninth.
In the final year of Yankee Stadium, they opened with a 12-2 victory but scored once the next two games of a May series. After winning the opener, the Orioles were 25-20 and stayed around .500 for most of the summer.
Two wins at Yankee Stadium in late-July helped but they still could not finish as Bobby Abreu hit two home runs in a 13-3 victory on the same day Ivan Rodriguez was acquired from Detroit. When they returned Sept. 19, it was all about remembering Yankee Stadium and the Orioles did their part by losing two one-run games before closing the Stadium with a 7-3 loss in which Rocky Cherry threw the final pitch for Baltimore there, Brian Roberts made the final out and Adam Jones had the final Oriole hit.
Last year, the Orioles lost their first six games and when they returned Sept. 11, Jeter was chasing Lou Gehrig’s Yankee hit record. He broke it with a single off Chris Tillman but the Orioles took the first two games. With a chance at sweeping, three relievers allowed eight runs in the eighth and the Orioles were left waiting for the sweep.
The same thing unfolded this year and a 6-3 loss in early June was Dave Tremblay’s final game. Buck Showalter replaced Juan Samuel in August and the Orioles won two well-played games but then could not add on to Matt Wieters’ two-run home run and lost.