BALTIMORE (AP) — Aaron Judge extended his major league-leading home run total to 36 with a pair of towering shots and the New York Yankees edged the Baltimore Orioles 7-6 Friday night.
Judge has six home runs in his last seven games. He has 34 career home runs against the Orioles, his most against any opponent.
“You have to start off on a good foot here with this hot ballclub,” Judge said. “They’ve been on a hot run. They came out swinging. They have some good bullpen guys back there too. Hopefully, come in here tomorrow and take the series would be big time.”
Joey Gallo also connected for the Yankees, who improved to 65-30 — the best record in the majors.
Anthony Santander hit a three-run homer for the Orioles in the seventh inning off Aroldis Chapman that cut the margin to 7-6.
“Obviously, it was a tough night for him,” New York manager Aaron Boone said. “I think he kind of ran out steam there in the end.”
Yankees reliever Michael King had to leave with one out in the eighth with a right elbow injury. His status is uncertain.
Clay Holmes took over and got out of the inning and then picked up his 17th save.
Lucas Luetge (3-3) earned the win after starter Jameson Taillon lasted just 2 2/3 innings — his shortest start of the season.
Judge gave the Yankees the lead in the third with a three-run homer to left-center off Tyler Wells (7-6). A large contingent of Yankees fans chanted “MVP” as Judge rounded the bases.
“It doesn’t help when you throw it down the middle to him,” Wells said. “The first home run I gave to him, I was trying to go up there, and just didn’t get it in enough. The second one, he just took a pitch right down the middle and he hit a long way.”
The Orioles answered in the bottom half and pulled to within 3-2 on an RBI double by Jorge Mateo and a run-scoring single by Cedric Mullins off Taillon.
The Yankees extended the lead to 4-2 in the fourth on back-to-back one-out doubles by Josh Donaldson and Jose Trevino.
Wells had allowed three earned runs or fewer in 17 consecutive starts, which was the second-longest active streak in the majors Tampa Bay’s Shane McClanahan (22).
Judge hit a solo shot in the fifth to boost the margin to 5-2. That ball traveled 465 feet — tied for the third-longest homer in the history of Camden Yards behind Carlos Correa (474 feet in 2019) and Edwin Encarnación (466 feet in 2017).
“I try to calm myself to take the flight in and take it all in,” Boone said.
The Yankees’ highly touted outfield prospect Jasson Dominguez, who homered in Saturday’s All-Star Futures Game, made his debut for High-A Hudson Valley. He went 2 for 4 with a game-tying homer in the ninth inning. Hudson Valley eventually lost to Wilmington 6-5 in 10 innings. Dominguez signed with the Yankees for $5.1 million as a 16-year-old from the Dominican Republic in 2019.
Yankees: RHP Ron Marinaccio (shoulder) had his rehab assignment transferred from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to Double-A Somerset. … The Yankees transferred the rehab assignment of C Ben Rortvedt (knee) from Hudson Valley to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Orioles: RHP Kyle Bradish will make a rehab start Saturday, and is expected to move from Double-A Bowie to Triple-A Norfolk.
Yankees: RHP Gerrit Cole (9-2, 3.02 ERA) has allowed two earned runs or fewer in 12 of his last 16 starts.
Orioles: RHP Jordan Lyles (6-8, 4.76 ERA) is 1-2 with a 4.56 ERA in four starts against the Yankees this season.
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