BALTIMORE — Remember all of that angst in spring training — not to mention earlier this season — about Aaron Judge’s lack of power?
Neither does anyone else.
The rightfielder, who homered twice here Friday night, cracked his third homer in two games as the Yankees routed the Orioles, 8-2, in front of 10,767 at Camden Yards on Saturday night.
The outburst gave Judge, who hit just one home run in spring training and struggled in that department as the regular season got underway, a team-leading 11 homers about one-quarter of the way through the season.
What has turned for Judge? "Just staying aggressive,’’ he said. "I think that’s the biggest mindset is staying aggressive in my zone, not trying to expand too much. If they’re going to flip an early curveball in there to try to get strike one, try to put a good swing on it. Especially if it’s a fastball out over the plate, take a hack at it if it’s in the zone and just try to do some damage. I think that’s what’s kind of helped me out so far."
Said Luke Voit, "It was just a matter of time before he got back on track, and he’s showing us what he can be offensively. He’s not missing mistakes, he’s controlling the zone and, really, making the pitchers make good pitches, and it’s fun to watch."
Judge’s blast, as well as two-run singles by Voit and Gary Sanchez, backed an outstanding performance by Domingo German. The righthander improved to 2-2 with a 3.62 ERA after allowing one run and four hits in six innings. German walked two and struck out six.
"His stuff just has so much life,’’ Judge said. "I’m starting to notice the movement on his changeup; the control, the feel he has for that pitch I think is really the equalizer. That’s a thing he can pop in there any time against righties and lefties. It’s good against lefties but I think it’s even better against righthanded hitters. He’s able to throw any pitch at any time, and when you’re able to do that like he is right now, he’s pretty unhittable."
The Yankees (22-17), who have won 16 of their last 22 games, improved to 4-1 on this three-city, 10-game trip. After finishing this series against the Orioles (16-23) on Sunday afternoon, they will start a four-game series against the Rangers on Monday night in Arlington, Texas.
The Yankees, who outhit the Orioles 13-6, made it a laugher early against Baltimore righthander Jorge Lopez, who came in 1-3 with a 5.63 ERA and lasted only two innings.
DJ LeMahieu started the first by walking on six pitches and Voit, 0-for-10 since being activated Tuesday, lined a single to left. Judge got ahead 2-and-0 before walking on five pitches.
Gio Urshela, whose pinch-hit, three-run homer in the seventh Friday turned a 4-2 deficit into a 5-4 lead, struck out looking at a 98-mph fastball. But with Sanchez at the plate, a passed ball charged to catcher Chance Sisco allowed LeMahieu to score. Sanchez, who was in a 5-for-35 slide, then sent a 3-and-1 fastball back up the middle for a two-run single that made it 3-0.
LeMahieu led off the second with a single and, after Voit struck out looking, Judge laid into an 0-and-2 fastball and drove it to left-center for a two-run homer and a 5-0 lead.
The blast gave Judge his 10th hit in his last 16 at-bats. It also made it 21 out of 36 games this season in which he reached base multiple times.
"It feels great to have that kind of support behind you,’’ said German, who escaped a bases-loaded, one-out situation in the third when the Yankees turned a 5-4-3 double play. "But when that happens in the game, you want to stay aggressive. You don’t want to lower the intensity pitching-wise. You still want to go out there and execute good pitches."
The Yankees blew it open in the sixth after loading the bases with one out on hits by Brett Gardner, Miguel Andujar and Tyler Wade, who had three hits. Tyler Wells replaced Keegan Atkin and immediately balked in a run. Voit followed by stinging a two-run single to make it 8-0.
"Feel like finally I’m back,’’ Voit said. "You just want to get that first hit and get it out of the way. Sometimes you try to do too much."