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Thursday December 12th, 2019 4:17PM

Gregorius, Yanks thump Orioles 8-5 in doubleheader opener

By The Associated Press
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NEW YORK (AP) — Gio Urshela turned on a Gabriel Ynoa fastball and sent the ball soaring over the visitor's bullpen and into the left-field bleachers, where it landed 461 feet from home plate.

"I didn't know that I had that power," the New York Yankees infielder said.

Against the Baltimore Orioles, all Yankees go deep.

Didi Gregorius, Gleyber Torres and Cameron Maybin also homered in Monday's opener of a day-night doubleheader, an 8-5 Yankees' victory that extended their winning streak against the Orioles to 13.

New York's team store has banners and T-shirts (at $29.99 each) heralding "Savages in the Box," manager Aaron Boone's infamous comment on his batters during his July 18 ejection, and its batters certainly have been barbarians against Baltimore with 56 home runs, eight more than the previous big league record for long balls against a team in a season.

"Unfortunately, they really don't miss any mistakes," Ynoa said through a translator after allowing all four homers.

Urshela had an RBI double, was a triple shy of the cycle and is hitting .328 with 18 homers and 63 RBIs. The 27-year-old was purchased by the Yankees from Toronto on Aug. 4 last year for $1 — that's not a typo — and was expected to help mostly with defense. He entered the season with eight homers and 39 RBIs over 167 games with Cleveland and Toronto but has become a key replacement on a roster missing Miguel Andújar for all but 12 games and Gregorius for the first 2½ months.

"It's confidence," Urshela said. "If you got a chance, you going to take advantage of the chance, and that's what I'm doing right now."

Urshela laughed when Torres and pitcher Luis Severino ribbed him in the dugout.

"From the start of spring training, it caught my eye his ability in batting practice to just throw 'em out to straightaway center off the batter's eye down there in Tampa," Boone said. "So, no, I'm not that surprised."

Gregorius hit a three-run homer in the first and his four RBIs raised his total to 35 in 47 games since returning from Tommy John surgery. He rolled over his left wrist going for a grounder on July 31, straining the area between his left ring finger and pinkie.

"Every time I take a swing, I do adjust the batting glove to make sure that everything stays in tight," he said. "Ain't much I can change about it. Pain tolerance, basically."

AL East-leading New York is 14-2 against Baltimore with three games left and has won 11 of its past 13 overall.

Ty Blach (0-0) was brought up to start the second game in his debut for the Orioles, who claimed him off waivers from San Francisco on Aug. 3. The Yankees planned to use Chad Green (2-3) as an opener, trying for their fifth sweep in six doubleheaders this season to go along with a split.

Baltimore has allowed an AL-record 245 homers, 13 from the season mark set by Cincinnati in 2016. The Orioles have lost six of seven and are on pace for 108 defeats.

James Paxton (8-6) won a third straight start for the first time since he won seven in a row for Seattle from July 2 to Aug. 4, 2017. He allowed three runs in six innings — Renato Núñez's sacrifice fly in the first and solo homers to Trey Mancini in the third and Anthony Santander in the sixth, both on 0-2 pitches.

Paxton has a 10.71 ERA in the first inning, when he has allowed 25 of his 50 earned runs, and a 2.58 ERA over the rest of his outings. He relied more on off-speed pitches with nine changeups — he threw seven total in his first 19 starts.

"As long as I keep my arm speed with it, I think it could be a very useful pitch for me," he said.

NUMBERS

Ynoa (1-7) gave up seven runs in six innings and dropped to 0-6 with a 7.01 ERA as a starter this year. ... Torres has hit 11 of his 24 homers against Baltimore. ... Aroldis Chapman finished for his 32nd save in 37 chances.

STREAKS

New York had not beaten an opponent 13 straight times in a season since 1957 against the Kansas City Athletics. Baltimore had not lost 13 in a row to one team in a season since 1955 against Cleveland.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Orioles: OF Dwight Smith Jr. (strained left calf) could start a minor league injury rehab assignment by the end of the week. ... OF DJ Stewart (concussion) could be activated Wednesday or Friday.

Yankees: 1B Luke Voit (out since July 30 with a core injury) sprinted and said he felt the best he has since May. He plans to hit off a tee Tuesday. Voit also said offseason surgery was a possibility. ... LHP CC Sabathia (inflamed right knee) is to throw a second bullpen Tuesday and is on pace to start against Cleveland this weekend. ... RHP Dellin Betances (lat) threw off a mound for the first time since June 5, a 20-pitch bullpen that included 17 fastballs and three breaking balls. He plans to throw another bullpen Thursday. ... Severino (lat) threw his second bullpen, three days after his first since spring training. He is to throw another bullpen Thursday, then may face batters on Sunday. "I thought he looked really good," Boone said. ... OF Aaron Hicks (strained right flexor) was to be evaluated Monday and could resume throwing and hitting this week.

UP NEXT

Yankees RHP Domingo Germán (15-2), tied for the big league lead in wins, starts Tuesday night against Baltimore LHP John Means (8-7).

___

More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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