Last year, the Yankees were pretty solid against the Orioles, going 12-7. Two of the stars of those wins were Aaron Judge and Nestor Cortes. In Sunday’s series finale of the first 2023 meeting between the two teams, those two were at it again with Nasty Nestor working his magic on the O’s for second consecutive Easter.
Judge went 3-for-4 with two home runs, as well as scoring a run after his non-home run hit. Meanwhile, Cortes went 5.1 strong innings, as he was only dinged with runs that scored after he had left the mound. Those two, plus some other solid performances, helped the Yankees dispatch Baltimore with a 5-3 victory, capturing another series win to start the year.
The Yankees got off to a pretty quick start in the first. Aaron Judge started things off with a single, which was followed by an Anthony Rizzo one after neither Gunnar Henderson or Austin Hays could track down a fly ball in the sun. Giancarlo Stanton then added a third consecutive single, scoring Judge.
Two innings later, Judge was involved in the scoring again, this time all on his own. He took a Tyler Wells pitch over the fence in dead center for his third home run of the season, doubling the early lead.
Another two innings after that, Franchy Cordero got in on the action. With Jose Trevino on after a single, Cordero clubbed his second long ball of the weekend, lifting the lead up to four runs.
Cortes mostly cruised through the game, working out of the slight patches of trouble that he ran into. However, another one would spell the end of his day in the sixth. After getting the first out of the sixth, Cortes allowed a single to Adley Rutschman and a double to Ryan Mountcastle. At that point, manager Aaron Boone would come get Cortes and bring an end to the outing. Albert Abreu would come in and promptly give up a double to Anthony Santander, plating both runners and dinging Cortes’ final line. When the dust settled, Cortes had allowed two runs on four hits and two walks, striking out five in 5.1 innings. Abreu did bounce back to strike out the next two batters and keep the damage there.
Abreu returned for the seventh and walked a batter before getting the first out of the inning. At that point, Boone went back to the ‘pen and brought in Ron Marinaccio. He got two fairly easy outs to get out of the inning.
Despite the Yankees spending so much of the game in control, the Orioles were still in striking distance after their sixth-inning runs. In the eighth, Judge gave the Yankees a bit of breathing room. He went deep for the second time on the day, hitting a solo shot.
However, the Orioles fought back in the bottom half of the inning. With Jimmy Cordero on the mound, Rutschman answered Judge with a blast of his own. It was Rutschman’s fourth hit of the day, as the 2022 rookie standout continues to prove that he is going to be a pain for years to come. Cordero bounced back after that, getting three straight outs, including two Ks.
The Yankees couldn’t add anything in the ninth, so Clay Holmes was brought on for the save in the home half. He secured the win on Saturday night, and he would do so again on Sunday. Holmes retired Ramón Urías, Adam Frazier, and Henderson in order, sealing the victory.
After three series, the Yankees now sit at 6-3 with three series victories on the season. Sure, there are nits to pick, but it’s been a pretty solid first week and a half. Next up, the Yankees hit the road again for Cleveland, with Domingo Germán preparing to face Guardians ace Shane Bieber tomorrow night at 6:10pm ET.