Yankees look to continue domination of Orioles

NEW YORK -- The New York Yankees have enjoyed prolific seasons against the Baltimore Orioles in their history but nothing quite like the first 17 games between the teams.

The Yankees own an 11-6 advantage in the season series and it's because of an offense that has produced 141 runs so far.

It's a figure so good that it's tied for the third highest in the major leagues against any opponent in a season since 1961.

The Yankees will look to enjoy another productive showing at the plate against Baltimore pitching on Saturday afternoon in the third game of the four-game series at Yankee Stadium.

Based on how things are unfolding, the Yankees may break the mark of 146 runs scored by the 2002 Arizona Diamondbacks against the Colorado Rockies. They are two runs shy of the second-highest total set by the Chicago Cubs last year against the Cincinnati Reds and the 2006 Detroit Tigers against the Kansas City Royals.

The Yankees have scored 87 runs at home, where they are 7-1 against the Orioles. They totaled 38 in sweeping a three-game series June 9-11 and are up to 21 in this series after Didi Gregorius drove in four runs during Friday's 8-2 win.

"We're swinging the bats well," New York third baseman Chase Headley said. "There is no explanation, sometimes those things just happen."

It is the fifth straight home game the Yankees scored at least eight runs against Baltimore. It is the first time in a season they scored at least eight runs in five straight home games against one opponent since doing so in 1949 against the St. Louis Browns, who became the Orioles in 1955.

The Yankees enter Saturday with a .319 (195-for-611) average against the Orioles. It is their highest average in any season since the team moved the Baltimore according to STATS, which also said their highest average against the franchise was the .353 clip it posted in 1930.

The more important numbers for the Yankees are 2.5 games behind the Boston Red Sox for the AL East lead and four up on the Minnesota Twins for the first wild card.

"I think it's exciting," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "The big thing is that we worry about ourselves and continue to play well, and then you see where you're at in two weeks."

Meanwhile, Baltimore's hopes are fading fast since Manny Machado slugged a game-ending homer off Dellin Betances on Sept. 5. Since then, they are 1-8 in their last nine games and 5 1/2 games out of the second wild card.

"It's a combination of us not swinging it well and them really pitching well," said Orioles manager Buck Showalter, whose team has posted a 10.66 ERA in New York a 7.77 overall against the Yankees.

By putting up big numbers in the first two games, the Yankees did not need to liberally use their bullpen by putting Chad Green into games in the fifth inning. It might be different when Jordan Montgomery (7-7, 4.24 ERA) makes his 27th start and fifth against Baltimore.

He is 1-1 with a 3.43 ERA against the Orioles though he took a no-decision after pitching 4 2/3 innings at Baltimore on Sept. 4.

Montgomery's best outing against Baltimore occurred June 9 in New York when he pitched seven innings of two-run ball in an 8-2 win. Since then, he is 3-3 with a 5.82 ERA in his last 15 starts.

The left-hander's last outing was Sunday's 16-7 win at Texas when he allowed three runs and three hits in 3 1/3 innings before being replaced by Green.

Jeremy Hellickson makes his ninth start for Baltimore. He is 2-4 with a 6.54 ERA since joining the Orioles in a trade with the Philadelphia Phillies.

Hellickson last pitched Sunday when he allowed three runs and four hits in six innings in a 3-2 loss at Cleveland.

The right-hander took a no-decision Sept. 5 against the Yankees when he allowed five runs (theee earned) and two hits in a season-low 2 1/3 innings.

Hellickson has extensive experience against the Yankees from his time with the Tampa Bay Rays. He is 4-2 with a 3.60 ERA in 10 appearances (eight starts), though he has not pitched in Yankee Stadium since allowing one run and four hits in six innings for the Rays on July 26, 2013.
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