The hitting backdrop at Oriole Park continues to be especially inviting for Aaron Judge, who capped a productive weekend by claiming a share of the Major League home run lead, but the Yankees whiffed on another chance to secure a series sweep.
“I think you look at that [first inning] and you’re like, ‘That’s what we can do,’” Frazier said. “That’s what a lot of teams probably expect out of some of the guys through the lineup. To get four early was good, but we only got two for the rest of the game. We needed more than 10 to win. That was a tough one to go down because I thought we swung it pretty good.”
New York settled for two of three victories in the weekend set, primarily powered by Judge, who homered in all three games while going 6-for-10 with four homers and five RBIs. It is the sixth time in Judge’s career that he has homered in three straight games.
Judge’s 12 homers equal Ronald Acuña Jr., Mitch Haniger and Shohei Ohtani for the Major League lead. His 24 career home runs against the Orioles are Judge’s most against any club, and he has hit 13 homers at Oriole Park -- his most at any visiting stadium.
It was a rare Yankees loss that featured a Judge homer; since the beginning of 2020, they’re now 14-3 when Judge homers, compared to 41-42 the rest of the time.
“This last week, I feel like he’s really controlling the strike zone so well,” manager Aaron Boone said. “That discipline is getting him into some good situations. When he does get a pitch right now, he’s usually hitting it over the fence. I feel like he’s settling into the season in a really good way. I still feel like there’s even more in there for him; that’s the scary part.”
One that got away
After Sánchez and Frazier went deep off opener Adam Plutko to help build a 4-0 first-inning lead, Montgomery experienced uncharacteristic struggles with his command and with putting hitters away. Montgomery threw 76 pitches over three innings, surrendering five runs on six hits.
“I’m going to have to look at it tomorrow and re-evaluate, try and get better,” Montgomery said.
Ryan Mountcastle and Pedro Severino cracked two-out RBI hits to halve the deficit in the first. In the third inning, Judge put New York up by three runs, mashing a 443-foot homer off rookie Bruce Zimmermann that landed deep in the left-field seats.
Montgomery saw that lead evaporate in the home half of the third. Mountcastle, Maikel Franco and Freddy Galvis each drove in runs, part of a frame pushed along by two Montgomery wild pitches that Sánchez could not smother behind the dish.
“A lot of things could have gone differently today,” Montgomery said. “It sucks because the hitters really gave me a lead. I let them down.”
Can’t battle back
With Zimmermann limiting the Yanks to Judge’s homer over 5 2/3 sharp innings, Trey Mancini put the O’s ahead for good in the fourth with a two-out RBI double off Michael King.
“Baseball can be like that,” Sánchez said through an interpreter. “Sometimes you get ahead of hitters, you have them in a spot where you can put them away, you execute a pitch -- and they end up hitting it.”
Franco added a two-run homer in the seventh off Wandy Peralta, an inning that featured a highlight-reel Frazier catch that stole a hit from Mancini.
Gio Urshela bounced into an eighth-inning double play that squelched a budding rally, ending his streak of 23 consecutive games reaching base. It was the longest active on-base streak in the Majors. Frazier indicated that the Yankees, who are 17-8 since April 20, won’t fret about dropping the finale.
“I think the general consensus is that everybody feels good,” Frazier said. “We have a lot of guys that are clicking at the right time. Hopefully we can all get back together here pretty soon and continue this good stretch.”