New York Yankees Aaron Judge rounds third base after Didi Gregorius hits a 3 run home run in the 3rd inning against the Tampa Bay Rays in the Yankees home opener at Yankee Stadium in New York City on April 3, 2018. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo
NEW YORK -- After some frustrating showings for the New York Yankees at the plate in the first two games, everything clicked with a somewhat makeshift lineup.
And because it did, the Yankees are in position to salvage a split of their four-game series with the Baltimore Orioles on Sunday afternoon at Yankee Stadium.
New York dropped the first game 5-2 by going 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position and stranding eight Thursday. The Yankees followed by going with 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position and stranding eight more runners in a 7-3 loss decided on Pedro Alvarez's grand slam in the 14th inning.
"I think for a lot of these guys, you bet on the track record, especially when you're dealing with guys who are in the primes of their careers," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. "It happens with veteran players and experienced guys as well. Hitting's a hard thing, but I think once it does lock in, these guys will take off. Some of these guys that are off to a little slow start, I'm quite certain it's a matter of time."
Those were Boone's comments before the Yankees produced 11 hits in Saturday's 8-3 victory. The Yankees improved to 5-4 with a lineup that did not feature Gary Sanchez, Brandon Drury and Tyler Wade.
Sanchez remains day-to-day after some cramping in his right leg in the 14th inning Friday, Wade is day-to-day because of some flu-like symptoms, and Drury is on the disabled list because of severe migraines and blurry vision.
Aaron Judge helped to fill the void by driving in two runs, marking his 14th straight home game with an RBI, and Tyler Austin delivered a two-run single on a day when Jace Peterson made two nice catches in left field during his debut for the Yankees.
"A little bit of a blow early in the season, obviously with some of the injuries that have hit us hard," Boone said afterward. "So you got to weather the storm and guys have to step up."
Baltimore is 3-6 and enters the series finale with nine losses in its last 13 visits to New York. The Orioles are hoping Manny Machado continues his hot start. He is hitting .306 after going 5-for-13 in the first three games of the series.
"It's a byproduct of winning the game last night in 14 innings, but we stayed engaged," Baltimore manager Buck Showalter said. "I was impressed the way our guys came out and competed well."
The Orioles will likely keep Trey Mancini in the leadoff spot after he had two hits. He is 5-for-14 in the series.
Jordan Montgomery (0-0, 1.80 ERA) will make his second start for the Yankees. He began his second season by taking a no-decision in Tuesday's 11-4 win over Tampa Bay when he allowed one run and two hits in five innings.
Montgomery is 2-1 with a 3.08 ERA in his last 10 starts since Aug. 10, has not allowed a home run in 22 1/3 consecutive innings and not allowed a run in his last eight home starts. Montgomery also has allowed one earned run or fewer in four straight outings and is 6-3 with a 3.34 ERA in 16 career starts at Yankee Stadium with a ratio of 0.73 home runs allowed per nine innings.
The left-hander is 2-1 with a 2.67 ERA in five career starts against the Orioles and pitched six shutout innings in his last outing versus Baltimore on Sept. 16.
Mike Wright Jr. (0-0, 5.40) will make his second start while the Orioles wait for Alex Cobb to get fully ready to join the team after he signed late in spring training. Cobb will be making an extended spring training start Monday and could be ready for his Baltimore debut if it goes well.
Wright will be making his 23rd career start and 45th appearance. He made his season debut Tuesday when he allowed three runs and four hits while throwing 82 pitches in five innings of a 10-6 loss at Houston.
The right-hander will be making his second career start and eighth appearance against the Yankees, whom he is 0-1 with an 8.04 ERA against. Wright's previous start against the Yankees occurred June 14, 2015, in Baltimore when he allowed five runs and six hits in four innings in a 5-3 loss.