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Gray rewarded with support as Yanks top O's

Righty's quality start backed by Judge's 16th homer, Bird's first career triple
MLB.com @BryanHoch

BALTIMORE -- Aaron Judge continued to torment Orioles pitching with his team-leading 16th home run, and Greg Bird legged out his first career triple in support of Sonny Gray, who hurled six solid innings in the Yankees' 4-1 victory on Friday evening at Camden Yards.

Judge slugged a solo blast in the seventh inning, two frames after Bird gave New York the lead with a drive to deep center field off Andrew Cashner. Gleyber Torres and Austin Romine also drove in runs, and Aroldis Chapman recorded his 13th save as the Yankees (36-17) improved to a season-high 19 games over .500.

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BALTIMORE -- Aaron Judge continued to torment Orioles pitching with his team-leading 16th home run, and Greg Bird legged out his first career triple in support of Sonny Gray, who hurled six solid innings in the Yankees' 4-1 victory on Friday evening at Camden Yards.

Judge slugged a solo blast in the seventh inning, two frames after Bird gave New York the lead with a drive to deep center field off Andrew Cashner. Gleyber Torres and Austin Romine also drove in runs, and Aroldis Chapman recorded his 13th save as the Yankees (36-17) improved to a season-high 19 games over .500.

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Video: NYY@BAL: Chapman K's Susac, nails down Yanks' 4-1 win

"It's always important getting the first one, especially here in Baltimore," Judge said. "They can hit homers with the best of them, so for us to come out here and get this first win, now it's time to move on and get the next one tomorrow."

Gray dispatched the Orioles to their sixth consecutive loss as he continues to alternate good and bad starts, limiting Baltimore to Manny Machado's first-inning homer -- his 17th -- among four hits. Gray walked none and struck out six in a 90-pitch effort, picking up his third victory in five outings.

Video: NYY@BAL: Boone on Romine?s hot streak following win

"Like I've said every time, I feel good," Gray said. "It's only a matter of time before it starts clicking consistently. I've had some good outings in these last five or six, but I've kind of sprinkled in some bad ones. For me, it's just all about being consistent. I've got to limit the ones when I'm not commanding the strike zone. I feel confident, I feel good."

Judge's homer, a 438-foot drive to left field, came off reliever Tanner Scott after Cashner permitted three runs and nine hits over six innings. Judge has hit safely in all five of the Yankees' games against Baltimore this year and has hit 13 career homers off O's pitching, his most against any opponent.

Video: NYY@BAL: Judge crushes a 438-ft. homer to left field

Torres put New York on the board in the third inning, dropping a run-scoring single into center field, and a fifth-inning drive tangled up center fielder Adam Jones for Bird's first triple since 2015 with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

"I knew I hit it well," Bird said. "Luckily, he didn't catch it. That was the biggest thing."

Video: NYY@BAL: Bird scores Gardner with first career triple

Romine extended his hitting streak to 10 games with a line-drive double to right field in the sixth that sailed over Joey Rickard and allowed Didi Gregorius to trot home from second base. New York threatened again in the eighth but was turned aside.

Video: NYY@BAL: Romine hits 2-out double to score Gregorius

"I was hoping we could squeeze a few more out there, but for the most part up and down we had pretty good at-bats," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. "We gave ourselves enough opportunities, and we were able to break through just enough."

MOMENT THAT MATTERED
After Chad Green hurled a scoreless seventh, Dellin Betances made things interesting in the eighth, loading the bases with one out via two walks and a hit-by-pitch. A mound visit by pitching coach Larry Rothschild settled Betances, who recovered to strike out Jonathan Schoop and retire Chris Davis on a fly ball to center field.

"The thing with Dellin is, he's so difficult to hit that, as long as he gets back in the strike zone, I know he can wiggle his way out," Boone said.

Video: NYY@BAL: Betances escapes bases-loaded jam unscathed

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Torres was thinking three bases out of the box when he ripped a fifth-inning liner into the left-field corner, and very likely would have made it, had his left shoe not popped off in the middle of the baseline. As it was, the play was close enough for the Yankees' video team to give it a serious look, but Boone eventually spun his right index finger to continue play.

"We were over there going, 'You ever run out of your shoes before?'" Boone said. "I didn't even see the throw come in, because I saw the shoe go flying. I was just hoping he could stay on his feet. We considered challenging until the end and got the word to not challenge. Good at-bat, first out at third there when he almost fell down. We can laugh about it now." More >

Video: NYY@BAL: Mancini throws out shoeless Torres at third

UP NEXT
Masahiro Tanaka (6-2, 4.62 ERA) will try for his third consecutive victory on Saturday, drawing the start as the Yankees continue their series with the Orioles at 4:05 p.m. ET. Tanaka struck out eight, one shy of his season high, in his last outing on Sunday vs. the Angels. Kevin Gausman (3-4, 4.31 ERA) will start for the Orioles.

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.

New York Yankees, Greg Bird, Sonny Gray, Aaron Judge