On Monday, outfielder Aaron Judge described the streakiness and array of close games the New York Yankees are involved in as being a “roller coaster.”
A day later, the Yankees enjoyed a relatively smooth ride by combining power and effective pitching. They will seek their third straight win Wednesday night when they visit the Baltimore Orioles for the second game of a three-game series.
New York (81-64) opened the series Tuesday with a 7-2 victory, a rare easy win for a team that is 25-17 in one-run games. A day after Judge hit a game-tying, three-run homer to help the Yankees erase a five-run deficit and beat the Minnesota Twins, he hit one of five New York homers at Baltimore.
Judge and Giancarlo Stanton hit two-run homers while Joey Gallo, Luke Voit and DJ LeMahieu connected for solo shots. New York tied a season high with the five homers and prevailed for just the fifth time in 17 games since a 13-game winning streak Aug. 14-27.
“Jumping up top early is always good,” Stanton said. “A little relief even though you have to keep your foot on the gas the whole game. It’s much better playing with a lead than trying to catch up.”
New York is 10-7 against the Orioles, who handed them a pair of one-run losses Sept. 4-5 at Yankee Stadium.
“Every win is big, obviously,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “This is the fun time of the year. This is where you want to be, chasing October baseball. It’s good to get this first one here, especially after they took two out of three from us at our place.”
Baltimore (46-98) is looking to break a four-game losing streak filled with horrendous pitching performances. The Orioles have allowed 51 runs and 18 homers since their last win, Friday against the Toronto Blue Jays.
Making matters worse, the Orioles on Tuesday lifted Trey Mancini due to abdominal soreness and Pedro Severino due to leg/groin soreness. Both players are day-to-day, with the ailments occurring the same day Baltimore placed Jorge Mateo (back) and reliever Tanner Scott (knee) on the injured list.
“We’re hoping it’s not very serious,” Baltimore manager Brandon Hyde said of Mancini. “I really took him out of there pretty much for precautionary purposes. Just felt it a little bit in that first at-bat and we talked after the inning. Just didn’t want to make it any worse, so we’re hoping it feels better (Wednesday).”
Nestor Cortes Jr. (2-2, 2.70 ERA), who owns a 2.85 ERA as a starting pitcher, makes his 11th start of the season for the Yankees. He took his second straight no-decision Thursday when he allowed two runs on six hits in six innings during New York’s 6-4 loss to Toronto.
Cortes is facing the Orioles for the second time in three starts. On Sept. 3, he allowed one run on four hits in 5 2/3 innings. The left-hander is 1-0 with a 2.89 ERA in three career appearances (one start) against Baltimore, which had him on its 2018 Opening Day roster.
John Means (5-7, 3.42) will look to follow up one of his best outings of the season for Baltimore. He allowed two runs and five hits in seven-plus innings in a 6-0 loss to the Kansas City Royals on Thursday.
Means is 1-5 with a 4.88 ERA in his past 10 starts and is facing the Yankees for the second time in three starts. He opposed Cortes on Sept. 3 in New York, where he allowed two runs on three hits in five innings.
Means is 1-2 with a 5.81 ERA in nine career appearances (six starts) against the Yankees. He owns a pair of no-decisions and a 2.79 ERA in two starts against New York this year.
–Field Level Media