NEW YORK -- Gary Sanchez is so locked in that fans are teammates are expecting something positive from every plate appearance. Eventually Sanchez will cool off, but in the meantime the New York Yankees will ride the wave and see where it takes them. Sanchez's hot streak has taken the Yankees (67-61) closer in the crowded American League wild-card race and it continued Saturday when he became the quickest player to hit his 11th career home run and also reached base two other times during a 13-5 victory over the Baltimore Orioles. "It's unbelievable," Yankees shortstop Starlin Castro said. "I think that he is impressive. It's fun to watch. Every time he goes to the plate, we feel like something is going to happen in a good way and it's really fun to watch." Sanchez earned his first curtain call when he homered in his 79th career at-bat with two outs in the fourth inning. Shortly after lining a 1-2 pitch from Dylan Bundy (7-5) into the right-center field seats, Sanchez tipped his cap to his adoring fans as the Yankees took a 5-2 lead. "I just learned about it," Sanchez said through a translator. "It's great. Let's see if I can keep it going." Those same fans were chanting his name throughout New York's sixth straight win and 14th in 22 games since his promotion from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes Barre on Aug. 3. He also has nine home runs in his last 11 games since Aug. 15 and when he connected Saturday, he exceeded his home run total in the minors this season. "I don't have an explanation for it," Sanchez said. "I'm doing the same routine I was doing in the minor leagues. Here I'm getting really good results right now, and that's it." By connecting again and drawing two walks, Sanchez has a .400 average, a .467 on-base percentage, and an OPS of 1,367. He also has 21 RBIs through his first 23 games to become the third player to do so since 2000. "He seems to be hitting everything," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "It's just crazy what he's doing right now," New York right-hander Chad Green said. Additionally, Sanchez extended the Yankees rookie record for home runs in a calendar month and his 11 home runs are the most in a month by a rookie since Adam Dunn hit 12 in Aug. 2001 for the Cincinnati Reds. Sanchez hardly was alone in helping the Yankees get to within 2 1/2 games of the Orioles for the second wild-card spot. The Yankees have scored 27 runs and collected 36 hits in the first two games and Sanchez's latest home run was among many highlights of their first instance of reaching double digit runs in consecutive games against the Orioles since Sept. 2007. Castro went 4-for-6, highlighting his 14th career four-hit game with a two-run home run in a four-run sixth, and RBI single during a three-run fourth that put the Yankees ahead for good. Aaron Hicks also hit a two-run home run and added an RBI single for the Yankees, who are batting .429 in the last two games and have gone 14-for-27 with runners in scoring position. Brian McCann also contributed an RBI single and a run-scoring double. Mark Teixeira had an RBI double after Sanchez's first walk while Brett Gardner added an RBI infield single. New York also saw Didi Gregorius score a run on a daring steal of home plate in the fourth before he added a late RBI single. While the Yankees continued rolling, the Orioles lost for the eighth time in their last 12 games and may be tied with the Detroit Tigers when Sunday's game begins. "It's just not going for us," Baltimore third baseman Manny Machado said. "Nothing really, really to it. Just not getting any hits, clean hits. Just outhitting us. They're doing what they need to be doing, and we're not. Nothing's falling for us. No excuses." Chris Davis homered twice, Mark Trumbo added his major league-leading 39th home run and Hyun-Soo Kim added a late RBI single. Those hits were not nearly enough as the Orioles allowed at least eight earned runs for the fifth time in their last nine games and gave up at least 18 hits in consecutive games for the first time since Aug. 11-12, 1993 versus Detroit. It also marked the first time Baltimore gave 13 runs in consecutive games since May 19-20, 2011. Neither starting pitcher made it past the fifth. Green did not qualify for the win as he allowed four runs and seven hits in 4 2/3 innings. He exited with a 5-4 lead but official scoring rules prevented him from getting a win and Tommy Layne pitched a scoreless inning for the win. Bundy allowed five runs and seven hits in four innings and saw his ERA rise to 4.21 as a starting pitcher. "I didn't give my team a very good chance to win today," Bundy said. "That's my fault." NOTES: The Yankees switched their rotation and announced LHP CC Sabathia will start Sunday and RHP Michael Pineda will start Monday in Kansas City. ... Baltimore purchased the contract of OF Julio Borbon from Double-A Bowie, optioned RHP Mike Wright to Triple-A Norfolk and designated RHP Logan Ondrusek for assignment off the 40-man roster. ... On the Yankees game notes, there were 10 items about rookie C Gary Sanchez. ... Manager Joe Girardi said there is no temptation to make Sanchez a cleanup hitter. ... Orioles manager Buck Showalter said RHP Chris Tillman (right shoulder bursitis) probably will not need to make a rehab start.
Sanchez strikes again, leads Yankees to win
The Sports Xchange | Aug 27