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Orioles-Yankees Preview

NEW YORK -- The New York Yankees are increasing their win total by frequently scoring runs against the Baltimore Orioles.

The Yankees get their final chance to generate offense against the Orioles Sunday afternoon as they attempt to complete a four-game sweep.

The Yankees are 12-6 against the Orioles. They have scored 150 runs this season against Baltimore after Didi Gregorius and Greg Bird hit three-run homers before Todd Frazier hit a two-run homer in Saturday's 9-3 victory.

By getting three lopsided wins, the Yankees are in position to get their first four-game sweep of the Orioles since Sept. 19-22, 2005, in a series that was significantly closer. The Yankees scored 24 runs and posted three one-run victories during their last four-game sweep of the Orioles.

"They're a really good team," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said of Baltimore. "They've been a really good team. They've been a playoff team, and offensively they've been extremely dangerous.

"They've had a strong back of the bullpen. This year we've played better against them and we've been able to contain their offense a little bit more. To be able to do what we did the last few days, our pitchers have done a really good job."

The pitching part of Girardi's statement is accurate as the Yankees are outscoring the Orioles 30-10 in this series, but his team's domination of the Orioles is mostly based on offense.

New York's 150 runs are its most against the Orioles since the franchise relocated from St. Louis following the 1953 season. Those runs are also the most since the Yankees totaled 158 in 22 games against the Kansas City Athletics in 1956 when Hall of Famer Mickey Mantle won the triple crown.

The Yankees are batting .337 in the series so far, and they are hitting .318 (205-for-644) against the Orioles.

The timing of New York's productivity is well-timed. The Yankees are 12-4 in their last 16 games since getting swept in a three-game series by the Cleveland Indians Aug. 28-30.

New York is three games behind the Boston Red Sox and holds a five-game lead on the Minnesota Twins for the top AL wild-card spot.

As good as things are going for the Yankees, it's been the reverse for Baltimore in the last week and a half. Since Manny Machado hit a game-winning homer off Dellin Betances on Sept. 5, the Orioles are 1-9 in their last 10 games.

Baltimore is pitching to a 16.43 ERA in the first three games of this series, continuing a trend of sub-par pitching no matter where they face the Yankees. In the season series, the Orioles hold a 7.89 ERA against the Yankees and a 10.73 mark in New York.

"There's a lot of things you can look into," said Orioles manager Buck Showalter, whose team has allowed 45 of its 224 homers to the Yankees. "We've made a lot of really bad pitches that should end up in bleachers and we walk the people before they hit them. It's just a bad combination."

The Orioles also are failing to get hits as they didn't get a runner into scoring position until the seventh Saturday and didn't score until Austin Hays hit his first career homer in the ninth.

During this trip, the Orioles have scored 21 runs while batting .190 (56-for-294). Adam Jones is 9-for-29 (.310) on the trip but Machado is hitless in 18 at-bats and 5-for-32 on the trip.

Chris Davis and Mark Trumbo, who did not play Saturday also are struggling. Davis is 3-for-24 while Trumbo is 4-for-26.

CC Sabathia originally was slated to pitch for the Yankees, but they announced Sonny Gray will pitch Sunday while Sabathia starts Tuesday against Minnesota.

Gray is 3-5 with a 2.66 ERA in eight starts with the Yankees and has struggled to get run support. He took a tough-luck 2-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday when he allowed two runs and five hits in a complete game at Citi Field.

It marked the fifth time the Yankees produced one run or fewer in his starts, which have been each of his losses with them.

Gray's only start for the Yankees against the Orioles occurred Sept. 7 in Baltimore when he allowed an unearned run and six hits in 5 2/3 innings during a 9-1 rout.

The right-hander is 2/3 with a 4.39 ERA in five career starts against Baltimore.

Ubaldo Jimenez (5-10, 6.75 ERA) makes his 24th start and 30th appearance of the season. As a starting pitcher, he is 5-10 with a 7.15 ERA.

Jimenez is 1-6 with a 6.88 ERA in his last 11 appearances (10 starts) since the All-Star break. He also is 0-3 with a 9.27 ERA in his last five starts after allowing three runs on six hits in five innings during Monday's 4-3 loss at Toronto.

Jimenez is 4-6 with a 6.75 ERA in 14 career starts (13 starts) against the Yankees. He made a pair of starts in April against the Yankees before tossing a scoreless inning in Baltimore's 7-6 win on Sept. 5. He is 0-1 with an 11.42 ERA in those three games.

In his last appearance at Yankee Stadium on April 29, he allowed seven runs in 3 1/3 innings during a 12-4 loss.
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