Even as Aaron Judge continues his impressive power display, the New York Yankees are experiencing their first rough patch.
Judge has three homers in the past two days, but the Yankees are on their first three-game losing streak of the season. New York will hope to snap the skid Tuesday night against the visiting Baltimore Orioles in the middle contest of a three-game series.
Since earning their 24th win in 29 games on Saturday against the Chicago White Sox, the Yankees have scored five runs on 16 hits while going 1-for-15 with runners in scoring position in three losses. Three of those hits are homers by Judge, who leads the majors with 17, five ahead of the Houston Astros' Yordan Alvarez and the Los Angeles Angels' Mike Trout.
Judge hit a tying, eighth-inning homer in the opener of a Sunday doubleheader against Chicago when the Yankees took a 3-1 loss. Judge then hit two homers off Jordan Lyles when the Yankees began the Baltimore series with a 6-4 loss on Monday.
Judge recorded his fourth multi-homer game of the season, and he has 32 long balls in 79 career games against the Orioles. The Yankees fell to 21-4 all-time when Judge homers against Baltimore because Gerrit Cole allowed five runs in eight innings.
"(Sunday), tough doubleheader against a good team and we couldn't pull anything out there," Judge said. "And (Monday) we got the offense going early and we're playing against an Orioles team that scrapped out some runs, got some big time hits with guys on base."
The Yankees are on their first three-game losing streak since last Sept. 4-10, when they dropped two to the Orioles, four to the Toronto Blue Jays and one to the New York Mets before making a late push for the second American League wild-card spot.
New York has played short-handed during the past three games as Josh Donaldson joined Joey Gallo and Kyle Higashioka on the COVID-19 injured list on Monday.
Baltimore will look to continue the momentum from winning four of its past five games following a six-game skid. Each game has been decided in the sixth inning or later, and the Orioles withstood Judge's latest power display after producing their previous three wins in walk-off style.
Ramon Urias sparked a four-run third inning off Cole with a double and then hit a tiebreaking homer off the New York right-hander in the sixth right after Judge's second homer.
"I thought we grinded out at-bats really well," Baltimore manager Brandon Hyde said. "Gerrit Cole's got great stuff. He's an ace. He's an ace for a reason, and to be able to put some runs up on the board against him, I'm proud of our hitters.
After Cole's odd line of five runs and 11 strikeouts in eight innings, Jordan Montgomery (0-1, 3.35 ERA) will start for the Yankees on Tuesday. The left-hander is winless in his past 10 starts since Sept. 26. He allowed three runs and a season-high seven hits in five innings during a no-decision Thursday in Baltimore.
Montgomery is 3-1 with a 3.04 ERA in 15 career starts against the Orioles.
The Orioles got 6 2/3 innings from Lyles on Monday to prevent extensive use of their bullpen. They hope Bruce Zimmermann (2-2, 3.48 ERA) can provide a similar outing on Tuesday when he faces the Yankees for the fourth time this season.
The left-hander opposed Montgomery on Thursday and produced his worst outing of the year when he allowed a season-high five runs on seven hits in five-plus innings.
Zimmermann is 1-2 with a 4.94 ERA in five career appearances (four starts) against the Yankees.
--Field Level Media