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Yankees make it 16 straight wins against O's

Sanchez, Torres match Ruth, Gehrig with 10-plus HRs vs. one team in one season
@BryanHoch
August 14, 2019

NEW YORK -– With each jaw-dropping drive, Gary Sánchez and Gleyber Torres knew they were doing special things against the Orioles' beleaguered staff. You'll need to flip back to the days of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig to find a Yankees tandem that produced similar dominance. Sanchez belted his 10th

NEW YORK -– With each jaw-dropping drive, Gary Sánchez and Gleyber Torres knew they were doing special things against the Orioles' beleaguered staff. You'll need to flip back to the days of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig to find a Yankees tandem that produced similar dominance.

Sanchez belted his 10th home run off Baltimore pitching to power a 6-5 victory and complete a four-game series sweep on Wednesday at Yankee Stadium. The Bombers backstop joined his fellow Bird basher Torres (13) as the second pair of teammates in franchise history to slug double-digit homers against a single opponent.

Box score

"The funny thing about that is that we're not thinking about records or anything like that," Sanchez said through a translator. "We're trying to go out there to have good at-bats, just hit the ball as best as we can. We've got good results, but we're never thinking about records."

The Yankees turned on the clubhouse fog machine and held a family picnic on the infield grass to celebrate their rewriting of the history books, concluding the season series with 16 consecutive victories over Baltimore, their longest single-season streak since winning 21 straight over the 1927 St. Louis Browns.

By going 17-2 against the O's, it represented the Yanks' best showing since they won 17 of 22 against the Kansas City Athletics in 1959. They also established a Major League record by belting 61 home runs against a single opponent, having homered in all 19 games against Baltimore.

“I think it’s a little fluky, a little crazy to win that many games against a team, especially after we dropped a couple in the first series against them," manager Aaron Boone said. "To have that kind of run, things have got to line up a little bit for you, but it’s also a credit to our guys and the quality team that we are."

The Orioles can rest easier until next March 26, when Sanchez, Torres and company are scheduled to don their road grays and trot to the third-base line for the Opening Day festivities in Baltimore.

"We don’t have to play them anymore [this year], so I guess that’s a good thing," Orioles starter Dylan Bundy said.

New York starter J.A. Happ spotted the O's a first-inning run, but Didi Gregorius tied the game with a run-scoring single and Sanchez gave his club the lead with a three-run homer that rocketed over the center-field wall.

The blast linked Sanchez and Torres alongside the Murderer's Row duo of Ruth and Gehrig, who each mashed 11 home runs off Red Sox pitchers in 1927.

"It's wild to put that in perspective that way, when you say those names," Happ said. "I think it just shows how locked in they can be. That's always good to see for us. We'll try to carry that over. I'm sure those guys will take that confidence over into their next ABs and our next series."

Happ picked up the win, limiting Baltimore to two runs over five innings, and Mike Ford contributed a two-run single in the sixth. Luis Cessa allowed three runs, but Adam Ottavino, Zack Britton and Aroldis Chapman made the lead hold up as the Yankees improved to a season-high 40 games over .500 (81-41).

"It's been fun to be a part of," Aaron Judge said. "It doesn't matter who we're playing when we go out there, we're giving them our best. Our pitching has stepped up, and our hitters one through nine, we've got guys who can go up there and do damage. It's a tough lineup to try to get through. It's relentless."

As the afternoon progressed, another hallowed name emerged from Monument Park, where Sanchez's homer landed. Torres also legged out a sixth-inning double, becoming the first Yankee to record 17 extra-base hits against one opponent in a single season since Mickey Mantle had 18 extra-base hits against the 1957 White Sox.

“They're a couple of great young players that not only have already done a lot in this game, but the future is very bright and they’re going to do a lot of special things like that," Boone said of Sanchez and Torres. "It just so happens that they’ve had really good results against the Orioles this year, and maybe in years to come it’ll be somebody else."

And to that, the rest of the American League may have gulped. New York completed the season series batting .303/.386/.632 against the Orioles, scoring 151 runs -– their second-most against an opponent in the divisional era (since 1969), only trailing the 154 runs that the 2017 squad put up against Baltimore.

"For us as a team, it doesn't matter who we're playing, we're going to go out there to win," Sanchez said. "We've gotten really good results against Baltimore, but at the same time, it doesn't matter. We go out there to play hard and play to win."

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