Smith hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the seventh inning that capped a comeback from a four-run deficit and gave the Orioles a 6-5 victory over the New York Yankees in the opener of a three-game series.
The Yankees had taken a 5-1 lead thanks to early two-run homers from Matt Holliday (third) and Gary Sanchez (fifth) off starter Ubaldo Jimenez. But Manny Machado sliced the lead to one with a three-run shot in the fifth against New York starter Luis Severino on a very cold night (45 degrees at game time with wind).
Baltimore (3-0) then received a break when third baseman Chase Headley made a throwing error -- his second of the game -- that allowed Jonathan Schoop to reach second starting the seventh. After a J.J. Hardy sacrifice moved Schoop to third, Smith homered to right off Tyler Clippard (0-1) and put the Orioles on top, 6-5.
"It's nice coming up with a runner on third, less than two outs and being able to come through," Smith said about his first homer as an Oriole. "You've got a job to do there, especially late in the game. You want to make sure you do something to score that run."
The Headley error proved costly, as it put the tying run in scoring position right away and opened the door for the Orioles to at least tie the game. The New York bullpen had not allowed a run in the first three games this season before Clippard gave up the Smith homer.
"Late innings against a team like that ... there's a lot of firepower in that lineup," Headley said. "You've got to keep them off the bases. Unfortunately, I made a mistake."
The Machado home run proved to be the turning point after New York had taken that four-run lead early on. It put the Orioles right back into the game.
"Manny had the big blow of the night," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said.
The Baltimore bullpen also played a big role in the comeback. Jimenez struggled in his start, giving up five runs on seven hits, including the two homers, in 4 1/3 innings.
Hart (1-0) earned his first major league win after getting the final out in the top of the seventh. Brach then struck out the side in the eighth before Britton closed out New York in the ninth, earning his second save.
Britton gave the Orioles a momentary scare when falling while fielding a grounder for the second out. Showalter said the left-hander appeared to roll his ankle but they did not think the injury to be too serious, at first glance.
Severino gave up four runs on six hits in five innings, but the Yankees bullpen couldn't hold on to the 5-4 lead the right-hander gave them.
Both teams scored once in a 30-minute first inning. Holliday gave the Yankees a 1-0 lead with his RBI single to right before Adam Jones tied it in the bottom half with his RBI single.
Holliday struck again in the third inning with a two-run homer that gave New York a 3-1 lead.
Sanchez then knocked out Jimenez with his two-run blast to left in the fifth, a homer that put the Yankees on top 5-1. But New York could not hang on.
"It's a tough loss, because I thought (Severino) really threw the ball pretty well tonight," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "He made the one mistake to a really good hitter and he hit it out, and it kind of changed the complexion of the game. Our bullpen has been really good, but we got a little blip in it."
NOTES: RHP Chris Tillman, on the disabled list (shoulder bursitis), headed to Florida Friday and will throw two innings or 30 pitches in an April 11 game at extended spring training. The Orioles hope he'll return in early May. ... The three-run homer 3B Manny Machado hit was his first this season; as well as his first three RBIs. ... New York LF Brett Gardner helped in several ways, going 3-for-5, scoring three runs and stealing two bases.