BALTIMORE — The Baltimore Orioles didn’t acquire Seth Smith for his power stroke, but they obviously knew he had a pretty good one.
Lest anyone forget, he was the guy who hit a home run for the Seattle Mariners in each game of a four-game sweep of the Orioles at Safeco Field last season, so no one should have been surprised when he hammered a two-run shot onto the flag court in the seventh Friday night to bring the Orioles from behind in a 6-5 victory over the New York Yankees at Camden Yards.
Smith was brought here because of his solid career on-base percentage, which is why he has been in the leadoff spot in the two games he started. He has responded with three extra-base hits in his first eight Orioles at-bats, two of them accounting for three runs in the series opener against the Yankees (1-3).
“It’s just fun to be part of a lineup like this,” Smith said. “I’ve been a part of some lineups, and this one is no different in that regard. It’s a really good lineup, and it’s fun to hit around guys that put together good at-bats and hit the ball really hard and a lot of times really far.”
Aside from his homer, he doubled in the first inning and scored his team’s first run on an opposite-field single by Adam Jones. But the Yankees had built a four-run lead against veteran starter Ubaldo Jimenez before the Orioles’ offense finally got in gear.
Manny Machado brought them most of the way back with a three-run homer in the fifth to spoil a solid outing by right-hander Luis Severino. Smith came up in the seventh after Jonathan Schoop reached second on a throwing error by third baseman Chase Headley and moved to third on a perfect sacrifice bunt by J.J. Hardy.
Smith worked the count to 2-1 against former Washington Nationals reliever Tyler Clippard (0-1) before hitting a towering flyball that landed just beyond the railing that tops the out-of-town scoreboard in right field.
“It was a good, professional at-bat,” Orioles Manager Buck Showalter said. “He’s a good guy to have up in that situation.”
Setup reliever Brad Brach and closer Zach Britton did the rest as the Orioles improved to 3-0.
Britton fell awkwardly on his ankle while trying to field a comebacker in the ninth and was examined by the training staff. But he stayed in the game and notched his second save.
Jimenez struggled from the outset and could not get out of the fifth inning in his 2017 debut, allowing five runs over 4? innings — four of them on a pair of long two-run home runs by designated hitter Matt Holliday and power-hitting catcher Gary Sanchez.
— Baltimore Sun