Luis Gil’s career-best outing outduels ex-Cy Young Burnes, Yankees silence Orioles

Yankees' Luis Gil is on his way to a shutout seven-inning game against the Orioles at Camden Yards on May 1, 2024.
Michael Bennington
Thursday May 2, 2024

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The Yankees vs. Orioles game on Wednesday witnessed a young Luis Gil pitted against ex-Cy Young ace Corbin Burnes. Down 2-0 in the series and two previous losses, the Yankees were desperate for a win. Despite being under pressure, Luis Gil stepped up to the challenge delivering the longest and the best outing of his career.

In a pitching duel that showcased dominant performances, the New York Yankees emerged victorious with a 2-0 triumph over the Baltimore Orioles. This victory snapped a two-game skid for the Yankees and halted the Orioles’ perfect record within the AL East.

The young hurler matched Burnes pitch for pitch, silencing the potent Orioles lineup. Over 6 1/3 scoreless innings, Luis Gil stifled the Orioles’ offense, not allowing a runner to advance past first base. His impressive outing provided a much-needed spark for the Yankees after dropping the first two games of the series.

Once Luis Gil did his duty, manager Aaron Boone, seeking a reliable closer, turned to Clay Holmes, who delivered a five-out save to seal the victory. Holmes effectively shut down a late-inning Orioles rally, showcasing his reliability in the ninth inning.

The Yankees’ offense provided just enough firepower to secure the win. An unexpected power surge from rookie Oswaldo Cabrera, batting ninth, proved to be the difference-maker. Cabrera launched a two-run homer against Burnes, providing the Yankees with all the runs they needed.

Orioles manager Brandon Hyde highlighted the difficulty his team faced against Luis Gil’s dynamic fastball and deceptive changeup. He admitted, “We had a tough time with Gil, getting on top of his fastball, which is really good, really great life to it, and a good changeup.”

Orioles’ outfielder Heston Kjerstad, who managed one of the few hits off Luis Gil, echoed those sentiments, commending Luis Gil’s strategic pitching and control. He acknowledged the challenge of facing a pitcher who consistently dominated the strike zone, “The way he was tunneling the ball and also, he just uses his fastball a lot — he used it a lot again tonight — and he was putting it in good spots, making good pitches and staying ahead in the count.”

Wednesday night’s loss marked the Orioles’ first defeat within the AL East this season, showcasing the competitive nature of the division. The Yankees will look to build on this momentum as they continue their series against Baltimore.

Luis Gil beats Orioles ace, quiets AL East-leading bats

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AP

Following a rough outing against the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday, where he surrendered five runs, rookie Luis Gil bounced back in a big way against the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday night. He turned heads by pitching into the seventh inning for the first time. Over 6 1/3 scoreless innings, he scattered just two singles and a walk while striking out five Orioles batters.

Known for his overpowering fastball, the 25-year-old dominated the Orioles lineup, not allowing a walk until the seventh inning. He even stranded that runner with a pair of strikeouts to end the inning, showcasing his ability to work out of jams.

This dominant performance came after working with pitching coach Matt Blake on refining his mechanics. Before his stellar outing, Luis Gil had struggled with control, walking 19 batters in just under 25 innings pitched. The focus on mechanics appears to have paid off against one of the league’s most dangerous offensive teams.

Yankees manager Aaron Boone couldn’t hide his praise for Luis Gil’s command and overpowering arsenal. He highlighted the pitcher’s ability to set the tone for the team with his poise and effectiveness, effectively silencing a potent Baltimore lineup.  

“Anytime he goes out there, he’s usually got some overwhelming stuff and the ability to do what he did tonight,” he said. “Man, what a great tone he set for us. I mean, he’s got some poison coming out there at you.”

Needing a strong finish, Boone turned to closer Clay Holmes in the eighth inning after starter Ian Hamilton struggled with control. Holmes entered the game facing the heart of the Orioles’ order and rose to the occasion, striking out two batters to quell the threat. He continued his dominance in the ninth, shutting down the Orioles in order to notch his 10th save of the season.

The game-winning blow came in the fifth inning off the bat of rookie Oswaldo Cabrera. Facing a first-pitch cutter from Burnes, Cabrera displayed impressive focus and power, launching the ball just inside the right-field foul pole for a two-run homer. This gave the Yankees their first lead of the series. Despite facing a pitching ace like Burnes, Cabrera acknowledged his respect for the challenge but remained focused on contributing to the team’s win.

With this victory, the Yankees snapped a two-game losing streak and prevented the Orioles from extending their perfect record within the AL East. The series concludes with a chance for the Yankees to split the four-game set.

A career turnaround for Luis Gil

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X-NYY

Luis Gil’s dominant performance against the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday night marked a significant turnaround from his major league debut.

In 2021, Luis Gil made his debut against a rebuilding Orioles team, throwing six scoreless innings. However, this was before undergoing Tommy John surgery and facing a much different Baltimore squad this time around.

Following an early-season control issue where he issued seven walks in Toronto on April 15th, Luis Gil has shown steady improvement. Over his last three starts, including Wednesday’s outing, he has only walked a combined six batters.

Thrust into a crucial situation facing the Orioles’ ace pitcher with the Yankees down two games in the series, Luis Gil delivered a masterful performance. He struck out five Orioles batters and prevented any runner from advancing past first base.

Luis Gil, when speaking through an interpreter, emphasized that his approach on the mound doesn’t change based on the opponent. For him, staying focused and executing his game plan is paramount, regardless of who he’s facing. He stressed the importance of maintaining high concentration throughout his starts, something he clearly achieved on Wednesday night.

Teammate Oswaldo Cabrera, playing third base, witnessed Luis Gil’s dominant performance firsthand. Cabrera saw a “so focused, so concentrated” Gil working his sharp arsenal of fastballs, changeups, and sliders against the reigning AL East champions.  

Cabrera even noticed a difference in his demeanor on game day. He observed Luis Gil as unusually focused and serious while joining the team on the bus, a stark contrast to his usual jovial personality. This shift in demeanor convinced Cabrera that Gil was primed for a special performance. Cabrera also expressed his confidence in Luis Gil’s continued development with each outing.

Manager Aaron Boone commended Luis Gil’s ability to handle the pressure of facing quality hitters. “He’s equipped to get good hitters out,” Boone said. “It’s all about execution and he executed a lot tonight.’’

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