Rookie’s debut lone highlight for Yankees
Mason Williams broke into the major leagues with a bang Friday night. Williams, part of several roster moves by the Yankees after Andrew Miller’s assignment to the 15-day disabled list, made his big-league debut as the starting center fielder at Camden Yards.
Williams, 23, who was called up from Triple A Scranton/Wilkes Barre, found out how hitter-friendly the Baltimore park is. Batting ninth in the order, Williams drove a 0-1 fastball from righthander Ubaldo Jimenez into the right field bleachers in the fourth inning, a home run for his first hit in the majors. And among those in the crowd of 33,203 were Williams’ mother and brother.
What was interesting about Williams going yard was that he had not homered at all this year in 201 at-bats combined at SWB and Double A Trenton. Williams hit 23 home runs in 1,832 at-bats over his six minor-league seasons.
Williams, who also made two good plays in the field, will always remember this night, but the Yankees would love to forget it. The first inning was a bad omen when the Yankees loaded the bases with none out and failed to score. The Orioles had no such woes and coasted to an 11-3 victory.
Michael Pineda, pitching on 10 days’ rest after being skipped one turn in the rotation to conserve innings, was off his game and was tagged for six runs (five earned) and nine hits in 4 1/3 innings. It was a bad omen for him as well when he walked the first batter he faced. That runner eventually scored on a single by Chris Davis, who did greater damage two innings later with a three-run homer.
Yankees starting pitchers had allowed three earned runs or fewer in each of their previous 11 starts (since May 29), during which they were 6-2 with a 2.93 ERA in 67 2/3 innings.
It was also a miserable night afield for the Yankees. Third baseman Chase Headley committed his 14th error and had to leave the game in the fifth inning because of a groin injury. First baseman Mark Teixeira had his streak of errorless games end at 108 when he made a wild throw over second base in Baltimore’s four-run sixth inning. Caleb Joseph reached base and pushed a runner to third base when his fly ball fell between center fielder Brett Gardner and right fielder Carlos Beltan, each of whom thought the other was going to catch it. The runner who got to third base on that “hit” eventually scored.
It was an unsightly night for the Yankees’ first game against an American League East opponent since May 14 at Tampa Bay. The Yanks went 12-11 against non-divisional opponents in that span. After this three-game series, the Yanks will not face another divisional foe until July 3-5 at Yankee Stadium against the Rays.