BALTIMORE (AP/CBSNewYork) — Aaron Judge and Chase Headley hit two-run homers, Starlin Castro and Todd Frazier added solo shots and the New York Yankees beat the Baltimore Orioles 9-1 Thursday for their first series win at Camden Yards in four years.
Didi Gregorius had three hits and scored twice for the Yankees, who closed within 3½ games of AL East-leading Boston and fortified their grip on the top AL wild card.
Sonny Gray (9-9) gave up one unearned run and six hits in 5 2/3 innings. The right-hander is 3-4 since he was acquired by New York in a July 31 trade with Oakland.
After rain postponed Wednesday night’s game, the Yankees dominated the makeup from the outset. Judge connected in the first inning for a 3-0 lead, giving him 39 home runs – second-most by a rookie in major league history behind Mark McGwire’s 49 in 1987.
“I think we really fed off Sonny,” Judge told the YES Network. “Sonny went out there and dominated. We were able to get the first three runs in the first. But yeah, we were just really feeding off Sonny today. He went out there, dominated, attacking hitters. It was fun to watch.”
New York added two runs in the third against Kevin Gausman (10-10), and Headley’s drive off Mike Wright made it 7-0 in the fourth.
By taking two out of three, the Yankees earned their first series win in Baltimore since Sept 9-13, 2013. The 11-series drought was the second-longest in franchise history, behind only a 12-series run in Oakland from 1985-91.
Castro homered in the sixth for an 8-0 lead, and Frazier went deep in the seventh to give every New York starter at least one hit.
After going 6-4 on their penultimate homestand, the Orioles head to Cleveland trailing Minnesota and Los Angeles for the final AL wild card.
Coming off two starts in which he didn’t allow a run over 13 2/3 innings, Gausman gave up an RBI double to Gregorius in the first before Judge ripped a belt-high fastball deep into the center-field bleachers.
Gausman was lifted after yielding five runs in three innings. In five starts against New York this season, the right-hander is 1-2 with a 9.27 ERA.
The Yankees wore arm bands on their left sleeve to honor former player, manager and general manager Gene Michael, who died of a heart attack Thursday at age 79.
“It’s a loss for everybody. He had done it all,” said Orioles manager Buck Showalter, who was hired by Michael to manage the Yankees in 1992.
Wright was recalled from Triple-A Norfolk before the game.
Yankees: RHP Adam Warren, who was placed on the 10-day disabled list Wednesday with a lower back spasm, could return this season. “It’s possible just because he’s a reliever,” manager Joe Girardi said. “If he was a starter, you’d be more concerned.”
Orioles: SS J.J. Hardy (wrist) tested his sore elbow by swinging a bat. “We’re hoping to activate him tomorrow,” Showalter said.
Yankees: Masahiro Tanaka (11-10, 4.54 ERA) helps New York launch a three-game series in Texas on Friday. He is 3-0 with a 2.14 ERA over his last three starts.
Orioles: Wade Miley (8-11, 4.91 ERA) takes the mound Friday night against the Cleveland Indians, who took a 14-game winning streak into their game Thursday night against the White Sox.
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