The New York Yankees built a 13-game winning streak that vaulted them into playoff position by constantly emerging victorious in close games.
On Sunday afternoon, the Yankees hope to rebound from a frustrating loss to the Baltimore Orioles when the American League East foes conclude a three-game series in New York.
The Yankees (78-57) are 15-5 in their past 20 games and won eight games by two runs or less in their 13-game run from Aug. 14-27. The streak ended with a 3-2 loss at Oakland on Aug. 28.
On Saturday, the Yankees were held to three hits and none until an RBI infield single by pinch-hitter Gleyber Torres with one out in the seventh inning. Their other hits were an infield single by DJ LeMahieu and a game-tying, two-run homer by Joey Gallo in the eighth, but they took a 4-3 loss when Aroldis Chapman allowed a bases-loaded sacrifice fly to Pedro Severino in the ninth.
New York enters Sunday a half-game up on the Boston Red Sox for the first wild-card spot in the AL.
“These games are super important,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “We got held down enough today, so that’s frustrating and unfortunate, but we have a big one (Sunday) we have to grab.”
Baltimore (42-92) is 4-6 in its past 10 games since a 19-game skid from Aug. 3-24.
The Orioles survived Saturday’s game despite going 2-for-14 with runners in scoring position to get their third one-run win over the Yankees this season.
Before getting the victory in the ninth, Chris Ellis pitched five hitless innings and the Orioles retired the final six hitters after Gallo homered off Jorge Lopez.
“The key to the game was pitching,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said. “We definitely hurt ourselves by not capitalizing more with runners in scoring position. We had bases loaded in the seventh, bases loaded in the ninth, and we only get one (run), and that’s hard to win that way but happy to get this one.”
Trey Mancini went 3-for-3 Saturday and is hitting .358 (19-for-53) in his past 13 games. Cedric Mullins had an RBI double and is batting .306 (19-for-62) against the Yankees this season, and Austin Hays is hitting .385 (15-for-39) during a career-high 11-game hitting streak.
New York right-hander Corey Kluber (4-3, 3.61 ERA) will make his second start since returning from missing over three months with a right-shoulder strain. Kluber returned Monday when he allowed five runs on five hits in four innings in the Yankees’ 8-7 loss to the Los Angeles Angels.
Kluber is 5-1 with a 3.05 ERA in nine career starts against the Orioles. He last faced them on April 27, allowing one run on six hits in 6 2/3 innings of a 5-1 win.
Left-hander Keegan Akin (2-8, 6.90), who is seeking his third straight win, will start for Baltimore. He last pitched Tuesday in Toronto, permitting one run on two hits in five innings.
Akin has pitched at least five innings in his past three starts after doing so only four times prior in his career. He is 0-1 with a 5.11 ERA in four career appearances (two starts) against the Yankees.
–Field Level Media