(Updated: UPDATING: Standings in Para 2.)
The Baltimore Orioles and New York Yankees received a bit of a break from Mother Nature on Wednesday, with the cascading rain allowing the American League East rivals additional time to reflect on the events of Tuesday’s chaotic contest at Camden Yards. After erasing an early five-run deficit in the 7-6 win, the Orioles vie for a series victory in the rescheduled rubber match on Thursday afternoon.
Manny Machado highlighted the power surge on Tuesday, capping his fourth multi-homer performance of the season with a two-run shot in the ninth inning to give Baltimore its 10th victory in 13 contests. The 25-year-old, who has gone 15-for-37 with six RBIs and seven runs scored in his last nine contests, is 3-for-9 lifetime versus Thursday starter Sonny Gray. While the Orioles reside one game behind Minnesota for the second wild-card spot, the Yankees sit four back of AL East-leading Boston and three in front of the Los Angeles Angels for the first wild card. Jacoby Ellsbury drove in a run in Monday’s 7-4 triumph and recorded a two-run single the following night to improve to 8-for-12 with three runs scored during his five-game hitting streak.
TV: 3:35 p.m. ET, YES (New York), MASN (Baltimore)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Yankees RH Sonny Gray (8-9, 3.36 ERA) vs. Orioles RH Kevin Gausman (10-9, 4.79)
Gray dropped to 2-4 with a 3.16 ERA in six starts since being acquired from Oakland after surrendering four runs over seven innings in Friday’s 4-1 setback against Boston. The 27-year-old struggled to keep the ball in the park as he allowed more than two earned runs for the first time in 12 turns. Gray tied a career high by serving up three homers versus the Red Sox to put a damper on his registering nine strikeouts for the second straight outing.
Gausman authored his second straight scoreless outing on Friday, scattering five hits and striking out eight in six innings of a no-decision against Toronto. While the 26-year-old is pitching well of late, he has been throttled by New York this season to the tune of permitting 19 runs and 32 hits in 19 1/3 frames en route to splitting a pair of decisions. Gausman has allowed the Yankees to bat .376 versus him this season, with Aaron Judge going 5-for-11 with two homers.
1. New York 2B Starlin Castro is 8-for-14 with a homer, six RBIs and four runs during his three-game hitting streak.
2. Baltimore LF Trey Mancini has recorded two RBIs and two runs scored during his five-game hitting streak.
3. Yankees LF Brett Gardner is 1-for-14 with three strikeouts in his last three contests.
PREDICTION: Yankees 6, Orioles 2