Wells cruised during the first three innings, retiring nine of the first 10 hitters he faced. But he labored in the fourth, throwing 27 pitches and allowing the only runs of the game.
After leading off the inning with a ground-rule double, Aaron Judge scored the first run of the game on a single by Miguel Andújar. The defense then betrayed Wells. With runners on first and third, Andújar attempted to steal second base. He made it there after catcher Adley Rutschman threw the ball away for his first Major League error, allowing Gleyber Torres to score the last run of the game.
Wells ended up pitching five solid innings before leaving the game. During that troublesome fourth, he was a strike away from retiring Judge, Torres and Andújar, but they all reached on base hits.
“I made a couple of bad pitches,” Wells said. “I would like to say fatigue was kind of setting in during the fourth inning, but that’s no excuse to make pitches down the middle. I definitely felt I was a pitch away. All you needed was better quality pitches.”
Wells also credited Rutschman for being a great target behind the plate.
“Me and him were on the same page most of the game,” Wells said of the club’s No. 1 prospect. “He received it really well. He blocked really well. He is definitely a great catcher to have behind the plate as far as presence. He is a wide guy, he gives a good target.”
While the Orioles received quality pitching, the offense was out to lunch. They collected just five hits, two of them coming off the bat of Rutschman in the first multihit game of his Major League career.
“I’m trying to get more comfortable. … I’m just looking forward to settling in and helping the team win,” Rutschman said. “I’m looking forward to the next road series.”
The Orioles had Yankees left-hander JP Sears, who was making his first Major League start, on the ropes in the first two innings. In both frames, they had a runner in scoring position with less than two outs, but both runners were left stranded.
“We faced a pitcher on a limited pitch count,” Hyde said. “His pitch count was up the first couple of innings. We couldn’t put good at-bats together with runners in scoring position, which really cost us the game.”
The Orioles will get a much-needed day off on Thursday before they move on to Fenway Park to open a five-game series against the Red Sox, which includes a doubleheader Saturday. The last time they had a day off was May 6 and 7, when their games against the Royals were postponed. During the stretch of 19 straight games, Baltimore went 8-11.
“We’ll take [the day off]. It has been a long stretch,” Hyde said. “It might have affected some guys a little bit today. I thought we played a little tired. The day off comes at a good time.”