The New York Yankees look to slug their way to another big divisional win when they continue a three-game series at the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday. After taking three of four against American League East-leading Boston over the weekend - capped by a four-homer barrage in Sunday’s 9-2 victory - the Yankees again used the long ball to rally for a 7-4 win in the series opener at Camden Yards on Labor Day.
They’ve clubbed eight home runs during the three-game winning streak, with Didi Gregorius and Starlin Castro both hitting two-run shots Monday. “You want to keep it going,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi told reporters after his team pulled to within 2 1/2 games of the Red Sox and strengthened its hold on the No. 1 wild card in the AL. “The other teams are chasing us and we’re chasing the Red Sox. Every day we win it makes it easier for us to try to accomplish our goals. So we’ve got to play good again (Tuesday).” The Orioles had won nine of 11 entering the series and are 1 1/2 games behind Minnesota in the race for the second wild card. They will give the ball to Jeremy Hellickson on Tuesday opposite CC Sabathia for New York.
TV: 7:05 p.m. ET, MLB Network, YES (New York), MASN (Baltimore)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Yankees LH CC Sabathia (11-5, 3.71 ERA) vs. Orioles RH Jeremy Hellickson (8-8, 5.15)
Sabathia made waves with his comments railing against the Red Sox for bunting against him in the first inning, which overshadowed his third straight strong start. The 37-year-old is 2-0 with a 1.89 ERA in those three outings since coming off the disabled list in the middle of August. He was pounded for seven runs in 5 2/3 innings against Baltimore in the previous meeting April 28, but is 19-10 with a 3.47 ERA in 40 career starts versus the Orioles.
Hellickson’s 200th career outing was a rough one Thursday in Toronto, where he was reached for seven runs over 4 2/3 frames. The loss left him 2-3 with a 6.55 ERA in six starts since being acquired from Philadelphia, and he has a 13.50 mark in his last two home appearances. The Iowa native is 4-2 with a 3.21 ERA in his career against the Yankees.
1. Yankees C Gary Sanchez began serving a three-game suspension Monday.
2. Orioles 2B Jonathan Schoop has gone three straight games without an RBI after driving in 15 runs over his previous 12 contests.
3. New York has won eight of the last 11 meetings.
PREDICTION: Yankees 7, Orioles 5