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Yankees’ homers doom Orioles again, Birds fall to .500 with 6-4 loss

The New York Yankees came to Camden Yards with a fragment of the offense that produced the most home runs in major league history a season ago. The first two games of their series against the Orioles showed plenty of that power remains.

The Orioles dropped the series and fell to .500 with a 6-4 loss to the Yankees that lasted 3 hours, 42 minutes Saturday. In the series’ first two games, the Orioles (4-4) have allowed 14 runs, all coming via seven Yankees long balls.

Yankees slugger Aaron Judge provided two homers Saturday, both off Orioles right-hander Dylan Bundy, giving him his eighth career multi-homer game and fourth against the Orioles.

The most damaging blow came from Clint Frazier, called up because of an injury to Giancarlo Stanton. Frazier’s three-run home run off Miguel Castro’s elevated slider in the eighth returned the lead to New York (4-4) a half-inning after it had lost it. Castro also allowed a three-run home run to Luke Voit in Thursday’s loss.

“I think the pitches have been up, been missing,” Castro said through team interpreter Ramón Alarcón. “Commanding my pitches has been the main reason.

“My slider is one of my best pitches. Unfortunately, it was up, and he did a good swing.”

The Orioles threatened in the bottom of the inning, but Chris Davis’ seven-pitch battle with the bases loaded ended with a groundout to first, pushing his hitless streak since last season to 40 at-bats.

Judge’s first blast left his bat at 110.3 mph, a first-inning rocket to center that put the Yankees ahead 1-0. His second, delivered with Brett Gardner on second in the third inning, was only slightly softer at 109.4 mph, coming against a full-count slider Bundy left up in the zone. They were Judge’s first two homers of the season.

Bundy’s second start of 2019 was as brief as his first. He again allowed three runs in 3 2/3 innings, with four of the Yankees’ six hits off him going for extra bases. Command escaped Bundy in his season debut as he walked five Yankees in New York, but Saturday’s problem was location. The Yankees’ 12 balls put in play against Bundy had an average exit velocity of 95 mph, per Statcast.

“Got to get deeper in the game,” Bundy said. “I think that’s the first thing. A lot of foul balls. I couldn’t quite get them to bite on some two-strike pitches that I was really trying to get them to bite on, so just kind of ran the pitch count up again like I did last time.”

Between Judge’s homers, Trey Mancini tied the game at 1 with his fourth home run, a rope to right-center field off Yankees left-hander J.A. Happ. With a two-out double in the third, Mancini had six extra-base hits in his first 12 knocks of 2019.

Although they drove his pitch count up, the Orioles couldn’t capitalize against Happ, who held them hitless in seven at-bats with runners in scoring position. The Orioles went 1-for-14 with runners in scoring position overall. Cedric Mullins, a switch hitter who entered play with a career .146 average against lefties, singled off Happ to begin the fifth. Happ produced a Jonathan Villar popout, but a walk to Joey Rickard ended Happ’s night. Right-hander Jonathan Holder entered to face Mancini, who popped out to stretch the Orioles to 0-for-8 with a runner in scoring position. Núñez snapped the drought with a hard single into left, scoring Mullins from second and cutting the deficit to 3-2.

The Yankees then loaded the bases against Nate Karns, making his first relief appearance since April 5, 2017, with no outs in the sixth. Left-hander Paul Fry entered in a precarious situation, but catcher Pedro Severino took advantage of Fry’s high first pitch to fire to third and pick off Gary Sánchez. Facing consecutive pinch hitters, Fry struck out Frazier and got Gio Urshela to ground out to escape. Fry pitched a perfect seventh and retired the only batter he faced in the eighth as the Orioles’ two left-handed relievers, Fry and John Means, combined to retire all 10 Yankees they faced.

The Orioles rallied in their half of the seventh. After Holder hit Mullins with a pitch, Mullins took off for second as Villar grounded a single through the right side, making it to third. With no outs and runners on the corner, Orioles manager Brandon Hyde called on Davis, hitless in 17 at-bats to start the season, to pinch hit for Joey Rickard. Davis smacked a grounder to first, where Greg Bird bobbled the ball and still elected to throw home, but Mullins beat the throw and tied the game. After a Mancini popout, Villar stole third, enabling him to score the go-ahead run when pinch hitter Rio Ruiz hit a deep fly ball to center.

The lead did not last. Bird flew out as the last batter Fry faced. Castro got the second out on a flyout by Sánchez, but walked Gleyber Torres on four pitches. DJ LeMahieu singled before Frazier, hitting .182 coming into the at-bat, deposited a go-ahead home run into left.

A walk, hit by pitch and fielder’s choice at second base overturned by review loaded the bases in the eighth for Davis, who fouled off three straight and took two high fastballs before smoking a 100.2 mph grounder at Bird, who sauntered to first for the inning’s final out.

“CD, what a really good at-bat,” Hyde said. “Hits the ball right on the screws, and it just didn’t work out.”

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