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Yankees sweep Orioles with ninth-inning run after bullpen loses lead in eighth

Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka pitches in the first

Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka pitches in the first inning against the Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on Thursday.

BALTIMORE — Can’t win ’em all.

But it seems like the Yankees can when they play the Orioles.

On a day the Yankees didn’t start their two primary Baltimore bludgeoners, they still dispatched the worst the American League has to offer, completing a four-game sweep with a 6-5 victory on a warm Thursday afternoon in front of 30,624 at Camden Yards.

The Yankees (32-17), who have won five straight and continue a seven-game trip Friday night in Kansas City, are 26-8 since starting 6-9. They lead the Rays by two games.

“Anytime you can get four games, doesn’t happen, obviously, very often,” Aaron Boone said. “Really excited. We won in a lot of different ways.”

Including Thursday.

After Jonathan Holder and Tommy Kahnle (2-0) combined to torch a 5-1 lead — Renato Nuñez’s three-run homer in the eighth off Kahnle tied it at 5 — Aaron Hicks drew a two-out, bases-loaded walk off the always adventurous Mychal Givens in the ninth to make it 6-5.

Gleyber Torres and Gary Sanchez, who have hit a combined 19 home runs off Orioles pitching this season, were given the day off, but the pair started the two-out rally as pinch hitters. Torres drew a walk and Sanchez followed with a single.

Though the hard-throwing Givens clearly wasn’t trying to hit Hicks with the bases loaded in a tie game, the centerfielder took motivation from a couple of pitches that were inside.

“I don’t like being buzzed, and I wanted to do damage,” said Hicks, who had to settle for the RBI walk on a full-count pitch.

With Boone wanting to stay away from Aroldis Chapman, who has been used plenty of late, former Oriole Zack Britton pitched a scoreless bottom half for his second save.

The Yankees hit two more homers — one apiece by Clint Frazier and Luke Voit — giving them a remarkable 27 homers in seven games at Camden Yards this season and a total of 36 homers (they have 80 total) in 12 games against the Orioles in 2019.

In winning their 12th straight at Camden Yards, which dates to last year, the Yankees improved to 10-2 overall this season vs. Baltimore, which has lost 13 of its last 15 games in falling to 15-35.

“A lot of good at-bats, especially that last inning,” said Voit, whose 12th homer, in the eighth, made it 5-1. “Every day it seems like I see something different and something special happens.”

Gio Urshela, a beast with runners on all season, snapped a tie with a two-out, two-run single off Dylan Bundy in the sixth to give the Yankees a 3-1 lead. That improved the third baseman to 7-for-14 this season with two outs and a runner in scoring position and moved him to 13-for-32 (.406) with 15 RBIs overall with RISP. Austin Romine’s RBI single in the seventh made it 4-1.

Lost a bit because of the bullpen implosion was a fourth straight standout outing by Masahiro Tanaka, who was driven from his previous start Saturday against the Rays when he took a ground smash off his right shin, and who on Thursday took a liner — that came off the bat of Rio Ruiz at 102 mph — off his chest in the second inning.

Tanaka allowed a run that inning but nothing else. The righthander lowered his ERA to 2.94 after allowing that run, five hits and a walk in six innings. Tanaka, who struck out five, said getting hit actually helped spur him. He retired 10 of the last 11 he faced and 15 of 17.

“Something clicked,” Tanaka said through his translator. “I got out of that inning with only one run and I was kind of able to settle down.”

New York Sports