The Yankees did not lose in Baltimore last year while hitting a lot of home runs along the way, and they picked right up where they left off in 2020.
Fueled by three home runs and an excellent start by Gerrit Cole, the Yankees took care of business against the Orioles with a 9-3 victory. It was the 18th straight game that the Yankees scored five or more runs at Oriole Park (and their 16th consecutive victory in Charm City), re-establishing Camden Yards as Yankee Stadium South.
The Yankees weren’t expecting to be in Baltimore when the week began, but they didn’t take long to get comfortable. On just the second pitch of the game, DJ LeMahieu greeted Asher Wojciechowski with his own personal “Woj Bomb,” clanking a 358-foot dinger off the right-field foul pole and giving the Yankees an early 1-0 lead. After the Yankees loaded the bases without a hit (two catcher’s interference plays and a walk), Mike Ford drove Aaron Judge home with a sacrifice fly, granting Cole a 2-0 cushion before he even took the mound.
Just like Opening Day though, Cole couldn’t escape the first inning without giving up a run. He walked the leadoff man, the speedy Austin Hays, who then scored on a well-placed Jose Iglesias double. However, just like against the Nationals, Cole was able to get out of the inning with the lead intact at 2-1.
Fortunately, the Yankees perked back up on offense. Judge led off the third inning with a 386-foot moonshot, extending on a high heater and pulling it into the left field seats. Later, Stanton walked, and Aaron Hicks followed with a two-run shot to right that landed on Eutaw Street and made it a 5-1 ballgame. Hicks knew he hit it out instantly, and celebrated with our first Yankees bat drop of 2020:
The home runs keep on comin' ... Aaron Hicks makes it 5-1. pic.twitter.com/b3mwTzr4G6— YES Network (@YESNetwork) July 30, 2020
Meanwhile, Cole settled into a groove. Much like his start against the Nationals, Cole wasn’t at the absolute top of his game, but was still operating in cruise control. He didn’t allow another hit after the first inning until the seventh, and at one point retired 14 O’s in a row. His velocity spiked as high as 98 mph on a few two-strike heaters, and although there were a few deep outs, Cole stayed out of trouble for almost the entire night. The O’s did get to him at the end, when Dwight Smith Jr. hit a late home run, but if this is merely an above-average start for Cole, then the Yankees are absolutely getting their money’s worth.
The Yankees’ offense got back in the board in the sixth, thanks to some good plate discipline and some small ball. Ford and Gio Urshela walked, and LeMahieu and Judge plated them with two-out RBI singles, making it 7-1. The top two hitters in the Yankees’ lineup combined to go 6-9, reach base eight times and drive in four runs. The dynamic duo of LeMahieu and Judge is back in full force.
The aforementioned Smith home run off Cole made it a 7-3 ballgame, but that’s as close as the Orioles would get. Stanton added another run with an RBI single and Judge scored on a wild pitch to make it 9-3, and a combination of Luis Avilan, Chad Green and rookie Brooks Kriske closed things out, giving the Yankees their third win of the season.
The Yankees will wrap up their mini-series with the Orioles tomorrow night at 7. J.A. Happ will make his season debut for the Yankees, and he’ll be opposed by 2019 Orioles All-Star John Means.