BALTIMORE — Perhaps figuring that Gleyber Torres and Gary Sanchez were worn out from circling the bases, Yankees manager Aaron Boone wrote out a starting lineup without both sluggers in the finale of a four-game series against the Baltimore Orioles.
The benefit of such a move was that both were available when Boone really needed them.
Torres and Sanchez fueled a ninth-inning uprising that featured a bases-loaded walk, and New York pulled out a 6-5 victory Thursday to complete a sweep of the Orioles, who found yet another way to lose.
After combining to hit 19 home runs against Baltimore this season, Torres and Sanchez watched from the dugout following a quick turnaround from a game on Wednesday night. Boone finally called for the duo after Mychal Givens struck out the first two batters in the ninth with the score tied.
Torres drew a walk and Sanchez singled before Givens walked DJ LeMahieu to load the bases. After going 3-0 on Aaron Hicks, Givens got two strikes before missing badly outside .
That sent Torres to the plate for the pivotal run and moved Sanchez to third.
“Obviously, you always like when they’re in the lineup but to have them sitting over there in that spot was nice,” Boone said. “They were up hitting getting ready, getting prepared for that at-bat right there, and they went up and had good ones.”
Clint Frazier and Luke Voit homered for the Yankees, who went deep 13 times during the series. New York has hit 35 home runs in going 10-2 against the Orioles, outscoring Baltimore 86-50.
Down 4-1 in the eighth, the Orioles mounted a surprising comeback. Two walks and an RBI single by Trey Mancini brought in Tommy Kahnle (2-0) from the bullpen, and Renato Nunez tied it with a three-run drive .
That merely delayed the inevitable — another Baltimore loss at the hands of New York. Some have been blowouts, others close, but the past nine have all had the same result.
“We’re just not there yet,” manager Brandon Hyde said.
In many of the previous defeats, the Yankees bludgeoned the Orioles into submission. In this one, Hicks didn’t have to take the bat off his shoulder.
“I was looking to do damage (but) in those situations you’ve got to stay within yourself and do what you can to help the team,” Hicks said.
Zack Britton worked the ninth for his second save.
Baltimore has lost six straight. The Orioles own both the worst record in the majors (15-35) and at home (6-19).
“We’re in a mode right now of ‘let’s see what we have’ and the next thing is developing to win and winning close games,” Hyde said.
Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka gave up one run and five hits in six innings. Coming off a start against Tampa Bay in which he took a line drive off the shin, Tanaka was hit by a comebacker off the bat of Rio Ruiz in the second. Boone said the ball hit the pitcher’s hand, and drove it back into his chest.
Tanaka picked up the ball and threw wildly to first to help Baltimore take a 1-0 lead.
The Yankees were far more concerned about his health than the run. Fortunately, the right-hander needed only a few practice throws before resuming his domination of the Orioles.
A solo shot by Frazier in the fifth inning evened the score, and Gio Urshela chased Orioles starter Dylan Bundy with a two-run single in the sixth.
The Orioles optioned OF Joey Rickard to Triple-A Norfolk after the game and will probably activate OF Keon Broxton on Friday. Broxton was acquired from the Mets on Wednesday in a trade.
Yankees: LHP CC Sabathia was placed on the 10-day IL with right knee inflammation. Boone hopes treatment and rest will solve the issue and cost the pitcher just one start. … RHP Dellin Betances (shoulder) threw 120 feet from flat ground before the game. … SS Troy Tulowitzki (calf), sidelined since April 3, is gearing up for game action and Boone said he will likely know where and when that should be by this weekend. … SS Didi Gregorius (elbow) had six errorless chances in the field Thursday during an extended spring training game against the Phillies.
Yankees: Having won six straight series, New York takes aim at the Royals in a three-game set that begins Friday with the Yankees’ starting pitcher yet to be named.
Orioles: John Means (5-4, 2.68 ERA) helps Baltimore launch interleague play with a matchup in Colorado on Friday night.