BALTIMORE — Aaron Boone laid out the Yankees’ mindset going into Monday’s doubleheader against the cellar-dwelling Orioles. “Get it done,” the manager said.
Not in Game 1, as the Yankees absorbed an ugly 5-4 loss at Camden Yards. But they rebounded with a 10-2 victory in Game 2, getting six scoreless innings from Luis Cessa and two-run homers from Brett Gardner and Austin Romine. Gardner had four hits and three RBIs and took away a home run with a leaping catch.
“He’s in so many ways our heartbeat,” Boone said.
Gardner made the final out of the first game, pinch hitting for Tyler Wade and grounding out with the tying run at third.
“Game 1 was a close game and I wasn’t able to come through,” he said. “To be able to turn the page, have a good game in the nightcap and have a relatively easy win and save our bullpen, I thought that was important.”
Between games, Boone disagreed with the premise of a question insinuating that a loss to the Orioles (25-66) is worse than one against anyone else. (Baltimore is 4-4 against the Yankees and 1-9 against Boston.)
“They’re all a grind,” Boone said. “Every win is a good one and feels good, and the losses sting. It’s get on to the next one.”
In the next one, the Yankees bolted to a 3-0 lead (as they did in Game 1). Gardner singled and scored on Didi Gregorius’ double in the first, then hit a two-run homer in the fourth. Giancarlo Stanton, who hit his 22nd homer in Game 1 and is 23-for-61 in his last 15 games, doubled and scored on Greg Bird’s single in the fifth for a 4-0 lead. Clint Frazier doubled and Romine hit a two-run homer to begin a four-run eighth.
Cessa, brought up from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to start Monday, was terrific. He allowed three hits and, aided by three double plays, won for the first time as a starter since Aug. 26, 2016, against the Orioles. After the game, he was sent back to Scranton.
“Last time they sent me down, Larry [Rothschild] told me to be more aggressive early in the count,” Cessa said. “I just tried to be more aggressive and pitch a little more inside.”
CC Sabathia was not as fortunate in Game 1 after being given a 3-0 lead. First baseman Neil Walker’s inability to come up with a potential double-play grounder in the sixth inning swung the game. It extended an inning in which Danny Valencia hit a three-run homer off Sabathia that turned the Yankees’ 4-2 lead into a 5-4 deficit.
“That’s part of the game,” Sabathia said of the scorched grounder by Jonathan Schoop that Walker couldn’t handle. “That ball was hit hard.”
The Yankees nearly came back in the ninth against lefty closer Zach Britton as Miguel Andujar led off with a single and reached third with one out. But Kyle Higashioka struck out and Gardner grounded to first as Britton earned his second save.
Sabathia (6-4, 3.34) cruised through the first three innings and led 3-0 going into the fourth. Manny Machado doubled with one out and Mark Trumbo launched a cutter to leftfield for his 12th homer to make it 3-2.
Walker, in a 4-for-45 slide, slashed an 0-and-2 pitch to left in the sixth for a single that brought in Stanton for a 4-2 lead.
Trumbo led off the sixth with a walk and Schoop hit a sharp grounder to first that looked as if it might result in a double play. Walker kicked it, however, and somehow it was scored a double. Valencia snapped an 0-for-25 skid by blasting a slider to center for his ninth homer.
“I think it was just a pitch that he knew was coming,” said Sabathia, who allowed five runs and seven hits in five innings-plus and hasn’t beaten the Orioles since 2016. “I probably should have gone a different way there. That was a mistake on my part.”