Santander hits 9th-inning homer to give the Orioles a 1-0 win in Judge's Yankees return

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Baltimore Orioles' Anthony Santander runs the bases after hitting a walk-off solo home run off New York Yankees relief pitcher Tommy Kahnle during the ninth inning of a baseball game, early Saturday, July 29, 2023, in Baltimore. The Orioles won 1-0. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

BALTIMORE – Anthony Santander said it felt like a playoff game at Camden Yards.

A few more performances like this, and the Baltimore Orioles will be there.

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Santander homered off Tommy Kahnle in the ninth inning to give the Orioles a 1-0 victory over New York on Friday night, spoiling Aaron Judge's return for the Yankees. Judge walked three times in his first game back from a toe injury, but the Orioles kept New York off the scoreboard with a spectacular defensive effort.

In the eighth inning alone, Santander made a lunging, sliding catch in right field, and second baseman Adam Frazier made a diving stop on Anthony Rizzo's grounder with a man on second.

“Great defense, great pitching, that's how we win baseball games,” Santander said.

Orioles rookie Grayson Rodriguez pitched 6 1/3 scoreless innings, going toe to toe with New York's Gerrit Cole, who went seven. Félix Bautista (6-1) struck out two in a scoreless ninth. Kahnle (1-1) couldn't match that in the bottom half, allowing Santander's one-out drive that went well beyond the fence in right-center field.

The Orioles remained 1 1/2 games ahead of Tampa Bay atop the AL East, and they now lead the last-place Yankees by nine.

The game was delayed 2 hours, 32 minutes by rain, but that did little to dampen the enthusiasm of a crowd that included a mix of Yankees fans cheering Judge and Orioles fans embracing their first-place team.

“Right before the start of the game, it felt like a playoff game,” Santander said. “That's good to have those fans to support us. Hopefully they can continue to do that.”

Judge lined out to right field on the first pitch to him in the first, but he reached base the other three times he came up.

Anthony Volpe was robbed twice by stellar Baltimore defense. Third baseman Ramón Urías made a diving stop on his one-hopper in the fifth. In the eighth, Volpe led off with a fly to right that Santander reached out and caught before sliding on his stomach across the grass.

New York eventually had two on and two out that inning when Rizzo's grounder looked headed to right field. Frazier's diving play prevented that.

“Defense won us the game,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said. “Adam Frazier, diving play off Rizz. Santander with a great diving catch. We turned some double plays.”

Each team had only four hits. Rodriguez was one of Baltimore's prized prospects, and after being sent back to the minors for a bit, he may be finding a groove.

“I just love his delivery right now and the tempo of his delivery,” Hyde said. “Just really, really competitive.”


Orioles general manager Mike Elias said it's no secret that the Orioles are working on potentially adding pitching upgrades at the trade deadline. He said the team has the wherewithal to make “good baseball trades” even if it means adding payroll.


Orioles: Elias said he hopes OFs Cedric Mullins (right adductor groin strain) and Aaron Hicks (left hamstring strain) can return and play a large part of August. ... Elias said LHP John Means (left elbow UCL surgery) and RHP Mychal Givens (right shoulder inflammation) will probably be pitching in games in the Florida Complex League in the early part of August.


Baltimore's Tyler Wells (7-5) takes the mound against New York's Clarke Schmidt (6-6) on Saturday night. Schmidt will be on extended rest, having last pitched July 21.


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