Orioles look to keep morale high, clash with Yankees

The Baltimore Orioles will try to stay on a roll when they host the New York Yankees in the rubber match of their three-game series on Sunday.

The Orioles rallied from a three-run deficit against one of the best pitchers in the majors to win 6-3 on Saturday night for their 12th victory in the past 15 games.

“We tried to take the pitchers into deeper counts and just wait for them to make mistakes,” said Orioles third baseman Ramon Urias, who had three hits on Saturday, including a two-run homer. “We made them pay for that.”

With all of the excitement surrounding Baltimore, Urias also said it was a playoff-like atmosphere. The Orioles haven’t had a taste of postseason action since 2016, when they lost in the wild-card game to the Toronto Blue Jays.

Baltimore finished last in the AL East in each of the past four full seasons. The Orioles will be last in the division heading into Sunday, but only a half-game behind the Boston Red Sox, who have lost four straight.

Baltimore has been having different players get hot at different times.

Lately it’s been Urias, who is 14-for-31 in his past eight games with four home runs and 13 RBIs.

He raised his batting average from .233 to .264 in that span.

“I’ve maintained the same approach, kept doing the same things,” Urias said. “All of a sudden, things are turning around and looking much better.”

The Yankees still maintain a 12-game lead in the AL East, but they’ve lost three of four coming out of the All-Star break.

Gerrit Cole couldn’t hold a 3-0 lead entering the fifth inning on Saturday and was denied his 10th win of the season.

The Yankees could help themselves by getting timely hits. They were 1-for-14 with runners in scoring position on Saturday night.

“That’s frustrating. We had chances to really pull away,” New York manager Aaron Boone said. “Ton of traffic, a lot of good at-bats up and down the lineup, but just not able to break through, or you get that big extra-base hit with guys on base.”

Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge continues to see the ball well coming out of the All-Star break.

He had four hits, including two doubles, and drove in two runs on Saturday night.

Judge is 7-for-15 with three home runs and nine RBIs in his past four games.

Baltimore will try to cool him off behind starter Dean Kremer.

Kremer (3-1, 2.59 ERA) went 0-7 last season and lost his first start this season, but is 3-0 in his past seven starts with a 2.17 ERA.

He has not faced the Yankees this season, but five of his first 11 major league starts came against New York. Kremer went 1-2 in those games with a 5.01 ERA.

The Yankees plan to counter with Nestor Cortes, who will be making his first start since getting a hold in the All-Star Game on Tuesday.

Cortes (7-3, 2.63) threw five shutout innings in Baltimore on April 17, but left with the game scoreless and the Yankees eventually lost 5-0.

Cortes is 1-0 in five career appearances against Baltimore, including three starts, with a 1.74 ERA.

Baltimore second baseman Rougned Odor hit a grand slam in his only career at-bat against Cortes at the end of the 2019 season, when Odor was with the Texas Rangers and Cortes was primarily a reliever.

–Field Level Media