Starlin Castro hit thrice including a homerun, Didi Gregorious belted his 20th homer of the season, and the New York Yankees turned back the Baltimore Orioles 7-4 at Camden Yards for their third straight victory.
The Yankees have won four of their last five games, including three of four matches against the American League East leaders Boston Red Sox, who lost to the Toronto Blue Jays 10-4. Boston still lead the pack at 77-61, followed by New York (74-63) and Baltimore (70-68).
“You want to keep it going,” said manager Joe Girardi. “The other teams are chasing us and we’re chasing the Red Sox.
“Every day we win it makes it easier for us to try to accomplish our goals. So we’ve got to play good again Tuesday,” added Girardi, whose side will play their next two games in Baltimore before visiting AL wild-card chasers the Texas Rangers.
Orioles’ shortstop Tim Beckham opened the scoring when he hit a leadoff homer off of Jordan Montgomery in the top of the first, before Chris Davis made it 3-0 for the hosts when he blasted his 23rd dinger of the season with Mark Trumbo on base.
Held hitless by Baltimore starter Dylan Bundy through three innings, the Yankees lineup came alive in the fourth when Castro led off with a single. Gregorious then followed with a moonshot to rightfield and became the first New York shortstop to log at least 20 homers in back-to-back seasons.
Bundy walked two of the next three batters, then Jacoby Ellsbury tied the game for the Yankees when his single allowed Aaron Judge to touch home plate.
Castro then made his second hit of the night in the next inning, when his line drive to the left field porches with Chase Headley on base made it 5-3 for the visitors.
Brett Gradner made it 6-3 for the Yankees in the sixth when his groundout allowed Todd Frazier to score and Castro completed his hat-trick of hits when he singled to center field and plated Ellsbury.
Yankees’ reliever Chad Green pitched 2.1 innings with no hits and four strikeouts and earned his third win of the season. The 26-year-old is 3-0 in 32 appearances this season, pitching 59.1 innings with 90 strikeouts and an ERA of 1.97.