BALTIMORE — Despite a bad start by Jameson Taillon, a disastrous outing from Aroldis Chapman and a possible injury to Michael King — the Yankees still had enough firepower to knock off an improved Orioles team on a steamy Friday night at Camden Yards.
Aaron Judge homered twice and the Yankees held on for dear life in a 7-6 win, with Clay Holmes picking up the save. The win followed a doubleheader sweep at the hands of the Astros in Houston on Thursday, which opened the second half.
As usual Friday, Judge was the star of the show, giving the Yankees the lead with a three-run homer in the third inning and adding a solo shot in the fifth, both with two outs.
Both home runs were mammoth shots, the first estimated at 436 feet and the second at 465 feet. Judge has hit five home runs in his past seven games to give him an MLB-leading 36 homers.
And Judge now has 34 career home runs against the Orioles, his most against any team in the majors.
His power helped the Yankees overcome another subpar outing from Taillon, who was knocked out in the third inning after Judge gave him a three-run lead in the top of the inning.
The Yankees weren’t able to get much going offensively against right-hander Tyler Wells until Joey Gallo drew a two-out walk in the third.
DJ LeMahieu followed with a single to right to bring up Judge, who delivered his first homer of the night.
But Taillon struggled in the bottom of the inning.
He gave up a leadoff single to Ramon Urias and then an RBI double to former Yankees prospect Jorge Mateo. Cedric Mullins followed with a run-scoring hit to make it 3-2 before Taillon retired the next two batters.
But Anthony Santander reached on a bloop single to left and Ryan Mountcastle walked to load the bases and end Taillon’s night after 67 pitches.
Lucas Luetge came on and got Austin Hays to pop out to keep the Yankees ahead by a run.
The left-hander went on to toss 2 ¹/₃ scoreless innings as the Yankees padded their lead with single runs in the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh.
Josh Donaldson and Jose Trevino had one-out doubles to score a run in the fourth and Judge went deep in the fifth before Gallo hit his 12th homer of the season in the seventh.
But the Yankees rolled the dice and brought Chapman in for the bottom of the seventh. These days, even a four-run lead isn’t safe with the former closer on the mound.
Pitching on a second straight night, Chapman had nothing. He allowed a leadoff single, threw two wild pitches and walked a batter even before Santander sat on a slider and crushed it for a three-run homer to bring the Orioles to within a run.
King was summoned to get the last two outs of the inning and then got the first out in the eighth before he bounced a pitch to Urias, bent over in pain and was removed from the game with an apparent injury.
Holmes entered and threw the final strike to Urias before getting Mateo to ground out.
After another former Yankees prospect, Dillon Tate, struck out the side in order in the top of the ninth, Holmes whiffed Mullins before Adley Richardson reached on an infield hit. Trey Mancini came up and was struck out looking before Santander grounded out to end it.