NEW YORK – This fast kitten followed all the fancy hittin’.
In a game delayed for several minutes while a bunch of groundskeepers tried to corral a scaredy cat in the outfield, the Baltimore Orioles hit four solo homers off Yankees newcomer Andrew Heaney to beat New York 7-1 Monday night.
The Orioles held a six-run lead in the eighth when the tabby emerged from the third base side as Yankees star Aaron Judge batted against Paul Fry.
The cat sped past Baltimore left fielder Ryan McKenna, then got on the warning track and dashed back and forth. The feline climbed up on the low padding along the wall and tried to scale the bullpen fence, but kept falling back down.
“We saw him earlier in the dugout during the game and he was just chilling and we let him be," Orioles center fielder Cedric Mullins said. “Next thing I know, the fans were cheering and I had no idea.”
“I didn’t see the cat until he got the outfield wall and it was a matter of seeing how they handle it, watching seven grown men getting their ankles broken by a cat. Pretty funny to watch," he said.
Fans chanted “MVP! MVP!” as the cat eluded its would-be captors, even after being surrounded by several of them near the 318-foot mark in left field.
Only after 3 1/2 minutes did the cat leave the field, darting into an open gate near the seating area along the third base line.
The cat was first noticed by Joey Gallo, who was standing in the on-deck circle and pointed it out to plate umpire Mark Ripperger.
“That thing was pretty elusive to catch there,” Gallo said.
Almost too much so, Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said.
“I was kind of wondering what everybody was waiting for, to be honest with you,” he said. “Our pitcher is sitting there on the mound there with Aaron Judge at the plate and we’re watching a cat run around but finally it got out there -– the cat showed some good quickness and agility and vertical a few times.”
“But I didn’t know if it was a poisonous cat or what it was because there wasn’t a whole lot of movement happening when it ran on the field," he said.
Once the cat exited, Judge flied out.
Long before the cat made its appearance, Mullins and Austin Hays hit back-to-back homers in the third off Heaney (6-8).
Ryan Mountcastle and Ramón Urías also went deep to spoil the debut of Heaney, who was acquired from the Los Angeles Angels just before Friday’s trade deadline.
Heaney tied a career high by allowing four homers for the second time. The other instance was in 2017 also against Baltimore.
“I thought it fell off there after a couple of innings and he made some mistakes in some nitro spots,” manager Aaron Boone said.
It was the first time a Yankee starter allowed four homers since James Paxton on July 26, 2019, at Fenway Park against the Boston Red sox.
Heaney gave up four runs on six hits in six innings with the homers coming in a span of six batters in the third and fourth.
Jorge López (3-12) took a no-hit bid into the sixth and allowed one run and one hit in six innings. He worked around a career-high five walks and struck out four for his first win since June 6 to end a nine-start winless skid.
Anthony Rizzo hit a sacrifice fly in the fifth and has an RBI in his first four games with the Yankees. Joey Gallo started in left field and ended López’s no-hit bid with a clean double to open the sixth.
By then the Orioles held a 6-1 lead.
Mullins hit a full-count fastball into the right field seats for his 18th homer and three pitches later Hays knocked a 1-1 fastball into the left field seats.
Mountcastle homered on the first pitch of the fourth and two batters later Urías sent a drive into the visitor’s bullpen beyond the left-center field fence.
Sacrifice flies by Pedro Severino and Maikel Franco gave Baltimore a 6-1 lead in the sixth. A double-play grounder by Anthony Santander made it 7-1 in the eighth before the cat made its appearance.
“A weird moment, but interesting for baseball,” Gallo said.
STANTON IN RIGHT
After two appearances in left field during the weekend in Miami, Yankees star Giancarlo Stanton started in right field for the first time since June 24, 2019.
MULLINS KEEPS STREAKING
Mullins extended his hitting streak to 11 games to match a career high. He also hit in 11 straight games May 5-18. “Just doing everything and playing with a ton of confidence,” Hyde said.
Orioles: SS Richie Martin was activated from the 60-day injured list. Martin has not played since 2019 due to fracture in both wrists. He fractured his right wrist in a July 2020 intrasquad game and fractured the other wrist in a collision with a fence in May.
Yankees: RHP Corey Kluber (strained right shoulder) threw 22 pitches to hitters and Boone said it went well. … 3B Gio Urshela (hamstring) was held out of the starting lineup for the fourth straight game and will be placed on the injured list after an MRI showed a low grade strain. … RHP Domingo German (right shoulder inflammation) was diagnosed with a low grade rotator cuff strain and will be shut down for 7 to 10 days. 3B Miguel Andújar (wrist) fielded groundballs at third base during batting practice. …
Alexander Wells (1-1, 5.28 ERA) makes his third career start for Baltimore. Gerrit Cole was scratched from his start after testing positive for COVID-19 and LHP Nestor Cortes Jr. (0-0, 1.93) will likely start.
More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports