NEW YORK -- The Yankees have called upon their reserves earlier than anticipated, but even with a lineup that is thinner than the offensive juggernaut most envisioned, their longest-tenured player can still be counted upon to set the table.
Brett Gardner downed some java and provided a much-needed spark from his spot at the top of the order, helping the Yankees shrug off the previous evening's injury-marred affair as they struck back at the Orioles, celebrating an 8-3 victory on Saturday afternoon at Yankee Stadium.
"I think it's important for us as a group to show up ready to play," Gardner said. "It'd be easy to show up today and be dragging and not have a whole lot of energy. We've got a game at 1 o'clock, and we've got to be ready to play. I thought the guys did a good job of coming here and being ready to play. We did a good job of turning the page and trying to forget about last night."
Gardner reached base in all five of his plate appearances, collecting two hits, two RBIs and a run scored to help New York end a two-game slide in front of a crowd of 34,388. Seven players recorded a hit, and every starter reached base in support of Sonny Gray, who picked up his first win by limiting Baltimore to three runs and four hits over six innings.
"We have a lot of guys who are kind of fighting the little injury bug right now and some things aren't going our way, but the guys that we put out there today, you can tell that they battled and put together a pretty solid game," Gray said.
Aaron Judge drove in a pair of runs for New York, marking his fifth straight contest with an RBI. He knocked home the Yanks' third run with a fifth-inning groundout and chased Gardner home from first base with a double in the seventh.
"It was a good day for us," Gardner said. "The first two weeks of the season maybe haven't gone how we would have drawn them up, with a couple of guys having gone down and gotten hurt, but that's the nature of the game. Our depth has been tested a little bit, but we do have good depth. We'll be all right."
Manny Machado continued to swing a hot bat for the Birds, knocking a two-run double as he improved to 5-for-9 in his past two games, while Pedro Alvarez drilled an RBI double. Christopher Austin knocked a two-run single in the seventh to open up the lead for New York, which has won nine of 13 home games against the Orioles since the beginning of last season.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Jace in the place:Summoned from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre after Friday's 14-inning loss to Baltimore, Jace Peterson looked comfortable in his Yankees debut, contributing a sixth-inning running catch that saved two runs. Peterson had a good read on Alvarez's two-out liner toward the left-field corner, snaring it to freeze Gray's line and preserve the tied score at the time.
"I talked to Gardy a little bit on how the wind swirls and stuff like that," Peterson said. "We talked about the grass a little bit. But other than that, it was kind of just get dressed and go get 'em today. … Once the ball's off the bat, I'm just trying to go make a play for my pitcher, so I was fortunate to run it down and make the play."
Houdini lives: Yankees manager Aaron Boone went to the bullpen after Gray's 86-pitch effort, and the skipper was back on the mound three batters later, as Chance Sisco stroked a one-out single and Trey Mancini doubled off Adam Warren. In came Player Page for David Robertson, who has made a living out of wriggling free of those types of spots. Robertson froze Machado looking at a 93.3-mph cutter, then struck out Jonathan Schoop on an 85.5-mph curve.
"He's a hot bat, he's a great hitter and you can't make mistakes to him," Robertson said of Machado. "I was able to get ahead, couldn't get him to chase the breaking ball, and I felt like I threw a perfect pitch. With a guy like that, you've got to throw a perfect pitch, or he's going to get you. With the tying runs on second and third there, it was all about making a quality pitch right there at the right time."
"I don't think that's any surprise to anyone in this locker room. You know, no matter what the circumstances are, no matter how many innings he plays last night, he's going to be ready to go first thing in the morning. I think that's big for everyone else to see." -- Gray, on Gardner
Jordan Montgomery will make his second start of the season on Sunday as the Yankees complete their four-game set with the Orioles at 1:05 p.m. ET. Montgomery took a no-decision in the home opener and is 6-3 with a 3.34 ERA in 16 career starts at Yankee Stadium.
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