Judge powers Yankees over O’s
NEW YORK — As the New York Yankees quickly took a six-run lead on the Baltimore Orioles, the sound system at Yankee Stadium malfunctioned.
Even in the silence, the Yankees made plenty of noise with their bats.
Then again it doesn’t seem to matter what the environment is like for Aaron Judge when he faces Baltimore pitchers.
Judge produced two more home runs against the Orioles, blasting three-run homers in consecutive at-bats as the Yankees rolled to a 13-5 victory Thursday night.
Judge homered in the fourth and sixth innings against Mike Wright and Richard Rodriguez. He drove Wright’s 2-1 fastball 435 feet into the right-center field bleachers and sent Rodriguez’s first-pitch fastball soaring 448 feet into the left field seats at 117.4 miles per hour.
Judge tied a career high with six RBIs and recorded his fifth multi-homer game. Those drives gave him 11 homers in 16 games against the Orioles, which left some teammates a little awestruck.
“That’s crazy,” Yankees first baseman Greg Bird said. “We’ll take it. He wants to play the Orioles I guess. It’s awesome.”
It is the most by any player against any team this season, moving him one ahead of Milwaukee’s Eric Thames against the Cincinnati Reds. It also is the most by a Yankee since Roger Maris slugged 13 of his 61 homers in 1961 against the Chicago White Sox.
“I’ve just gotten a good pitch to hit,” Judge said, doing his best to downplay the success against Baltimore. “They’ve got a quality pitching staff. They make pitches when they have to, I just try to capitalize on their mistakes. That’s all.”
Those homers padded a six-run lead that the Yankees took just 19 pitches into the game against Wade Miley. Todd Frazier capped the opening inning with a three-run homer after Gary Sanchez delivered an RBI double. Chase Headley had an RBI single and Matt Holliday contributed a run-scoring ground out in the inning.
Judge is hitting .472 (25-for-53) with 11 homers, 24 RBIs, 27 runs scored and an OPS of 1.781. Judge and Hal Trosky (1934 for Cleveland vs. Chicago) are the only rookies to collect at least 11 homers against one opponent, according to STATS.
Besides Judge’s latest big night against the Orioles, Sanchez reached a noteworthy achievement. Sanchez followed Judge’s second homer with his 31st homer, setting a team record for homers by a player who has played at least 50 percent of his games at catcher.
Being unable to stop Judge contributed to Baltimore’s sixth loss in seven meetings at Yankee Stadium and its seventh loss in eight games since Sept. 5. During its six losses in New York, Baltimore’s pitchers have allowed 77 runs.
“We’re not pitching well,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “You go back through the pitching, we’ve got a lot of balls in places that we not want to get them and we got them, and you paid a price for it. It’s as simple as that.”
Jonathan Schoop and Trey Mancini hit solo homers off Masahiro Tanaka while Chance Sisco hit his first career homer in the ninth for Baltimore.
Joey Rickard added an RBI single and Caleb Joseph hit a run-scoring double in the eighth.
Tanaka (12-11) benefited from the early offense and held the Orioles to two runs on eight hits in seven innings to win his 150th combined game between Japan and the Yankees.
Miley (8-13) produced the shortest start of his career, allowing six runs and six hits while getting one out. He threw 19 pitches to seven hitters and lost his third straight start.
“I thought I made some pretty decent pitches; they just jumped all over me,” Miley said. “I mean threw a few different pitches. Everything I threw they handled.”
NOTES: The Yankees were going to honor former team executive Gene “Stick” Michael with a moment of silence and a video tribute but the sound system was experiencing technical difficulties. Michael, who was the GM of the team in the early 1990s, died last Thursday at 79. The ceremony was rescheduled for Friday. ... Baltimore manager Buck Showalter said RHP Ubaldo Jimenez will start Sunday’s game as the team gives RHP Dylan Bundy an extra day. ... Yankees manager Joe Girardi said Greg Bird (back spasms) is expected to be in the lineup Friday when the Yankees face a right-handed starting pitcher. Bird entered as a pinch hitter in the seventh for RF Aaron Judge. ... Baltimore C Chance Sisco recorded his first career hit in the seventh while pinch hitting for 3B Manny Machado.