Aaron Judge had two full days off and then a relatively quiet night until his final at-bat on Tuesday.
Judge socked a tying homer off Orioles closer Felix Bautista in the ninth inning, and the New York Yankees went on to beat visiting Baltimore 6-5 in 10 innings.
The Yankees will seek their sixth straight win on Wednesday when the American League East foes play the middle game of a three-game series.
New York is 15-5 in its past 20 games since falling to .500 on May 1. The Yankees are a season-high 10 games over .500 after Judge took Bautista deep with one out in the ninth and rookie Anthony Volpe delivered a game-ending sacrifice fly in the 10th.
“They got one of the best bullpens … in the game, especially Bautista, who’s had our number the past couple of years,” Judge said. “He’s got a 100 mile per hour fastball, a great split-slider combo. So just in that situation I was trying to stay ready for that heater and was able to get something up in the zone.”
Judge finished 1-for-4 in the series opener after resting on Sunday ahead of the team’s Monday off day. Since returning from an injured-list stint caused by a strained right hip, the reigning AL MVP is hitting .367 (18-for-49) with eight homers and 19 RBIs in 13 games.
“Just watching him and watching him grow in this game and watching who’s he become, none of these superlatives are overly surprising,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said.
The Orioles are 9-4 in their past 13 since a three-game losing streak from May 6-8.
Cedric Mullins and Gunnar Henderson homered off New York ace Gerrit Cole in the series opener. Adam Frazier added a two-run double, but the Orioles mustered just one hit in the final five innings and Bautista blew a save for the fourth time in 15 chances.
“It’s disappointing to lose that kind of game, but it’s a really good team over there and we got some opportunities to kind of push some more runs,” Baltimore manager Brandon Hyde said. “I’m happy with how we battled at the plate. One-run lead going into the ninth, you take your chances with Bautista.”
Tyler Wells (3-1, 2.94 ERA), who is the major league leader in WHIP (0.79) and opponents’ batting average (.168, second), will start for the Orioles on Wednesday.
In 11 career appearances (five starts) against the Yankees, Wells is 0-4 with a 4.68 ERA. He has held the Yankees to a .220 batting average and a .267 on-base percentage but has allowed six homers in 32 2/3 innings against them. The right-hander last faced the Yankees on April 9 in Baltimore, when he served up two homers and gave up four runs in six innings during a 5-3 loss.
Wells is 3-0 with a 2.52 ERA in his past six starts. He got a no-decision on Thursday when he allowed three runs in five innings against the Los Angeles Angels.
Nestor Cortes (4-2, 5.21 ERA) will oppose Wells for the second time this season. The left-hander allowed two runs on five hits in six innings at Toronto on Thursday and emerged with his first win since April 20.
Cortes gave up two runs on four hits in 5 1/3 innings when he faced Wells and the Orioles on April 9. He is 4-0 with a 1.37 ERA in eight career appearances (six starts) against Baltimore.
–Field Level Media