BALTIMORE -- Clint Frazier's first at-bat on Tuesday produced a barreled line drive that landed in the glove of left fielder Dwight Smith Jr., and as he returned to the third-base dugout, the Yankees outfielder permitted himself a chuckle. If his luck didn't improve soon, he promised hitting coach Marcus
BALTIMORE -- Clint Frazier's first at-bat on Tuesday produced a barreled line drive that landed in the glove of left fielder Dwight Smith Jr., and as he returned to the third-base dugout, the Yankees outfielder permitted himself a chuckle. If his luck didn't improve soon, he promised hitting coach Marcus Thames, "I'm not going to be smiling."
Three hours later, Frazier was grinning broadly, having busted his slump by driving in a career-high five runs in a two-homer performance. Gary Sánchez also hit a three-run homer to help Domingo Germán become the Majors' first nine-game winner as the Yankees trounced the Orioles on Tuesday, 11-4, logging their 10th consecutive victory at Camden Yards.
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"It's a satisfying feeling because of the way the last couple of weeks have gone," Frazier said. "I think I've had a slow start getting back to where I've wanted to be, and hopefully tonight is a way to build off that. That's the best I've felt in a while."
Mired in a 1-for-17 skid and owning six hits in 40 at-bats (.150) since returning from a sprained left ankle, Frazier mashed a two-run homer in the third inning and added a three-run shot in the fifth as the Yankees tattooed right-hander David Hess for nine runs, coasting to their Major League-best 23rd win in the last 31 games.
"It's certainly good to see him come out and get some results," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said of Frazier. "That's part of growing up in the big leagues. You're going to have your peaks and valleys, and you try and manage them the best you can. It's good to see him break out. I think we all understand what he's capable of when he gets really locked in."
Frazier said he had been struggling to regain his timing since the stint on the injured list, despite Boone's assertion before Tuesday's game that the 24-year-old seemed to be finding his stroke.
"I think people lose track of how hard this game is, especially coming off the [injured list] and trying to get back to playing the way that you are," Frazier said. "These guys have stuck behind me the entire year and made me feel really a part of this team. It's been a lot easier to have those bad games because everybody was trying to pick me up after the game."
One night after his ninth-inning, three-run homer decided the series opener, Sanchez gave his club a near-instant lead in the first inning with a line-drive laser that cleared the left-field wall. Eight of Sanchez's team-leading 14 homers have come off Orioles pitching.
"He's as lethal as anyone when he's making sure he gets his pitch," Boone said. "He's doing a better job of not expanding the zone when he gets in a really good count. He's pretty dangerous."
As Frazier's blasts padded the cushion, German held Baltimore to three runs (two earned) and five hits over five innings. Though Boone said German seemed to be taxed by a lengthy third inning, the righty improved to 3-0 with a 3.09 ERA in six career appearances against the Orioles.
"I actually felt pretty good," German said through an interpreter. "I felt my pitches were good tonight; were close to perfect, if I can say that. There were two innings where I battled. That one inning they were able [to score], but in the end I was able to battle and get through the five innings."
Stevie Wilkerson hit a three-run homer in the fifth off German, one batter after German committed a throwing error on what could have been a double play. German is the first Yankee to win nine games in the team's first 47 games since Bob Turley in 1958.
"It feels good, but the focus is to get the job done," German said. "We have really good pitchers in our starting rotation and they have been able to pitch for many, many years. Comparing myself to them, I am just starting."
Yet as the Yankees dressed at their lockers in the visitors clubhouse, the player-issued championship belt -- indicative of the game's top contributor -- did not hang from the chairs assigned to Frazier, Sanchez or German.
Instead, its owner for the overnight hours was to be right-hander David Hale, who helped reset the bullpen and recorded his first Major League save with four innings of one-run relief, having been recalled from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre earlier in the day.
"It's really cool. I wasn't expecting that," Hale said. "I didn't know they had that going here. I was kind of caught off-guard when they asked me to speak. ... They asked me if it was my first save, and it was. It's pretty cool to notch that off."
Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and Facebook.