Key for Orioles: Stopping Yankees’ Aaron Judge

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Aaron Judge and the New York Yankees will look to continue to feast on the Orioles when the American League East rivals play the second contest of their three-game series in Baltimore.

Judge went deep twice in the Yankees’ 7-6 win in the series opener to give him eight homers against the Orioles this season.

Judge hit his second three-run blast in as many days in the third inning and added a solo shot in the fifth to boost his major league-leading homer total 36 on the season.

“I was just happy to give ourselves the lead, and when we got a lead, this team is dangerous,” Judge said.

Judge has gone deep 34 times against Baltimore, the most against any team in his career. Friday’s power surge was just enough to send New York to its 10th win in 14 outings this season against the Orioles.

“What more can you say? He’s been the best player in the league,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “(On Friday), the way he hit those balls, it’s just really impressive what he continues to do. A great play in center field that was timely. He’s doing a little bit of everything.”

Judge will aim to continue that complete performance on Saturday vs. Orioles starter Jordan Lyles (6-8, 4.76 ERA), against whom he is 2-for-11 with two homers in his career.

Isiah Kiner-Falefa had an RBI single to extend his hitting streak to 10 games for the Yankees, who boast an impressive 31-15 record within their division.

Baltimore, in turn, endured the familiar refrain of nearly overcoming a sizable deficit before dropping a one-run decision.

“I feel like the majority of our losses are like this,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said. “I’m just proud of our guys. We continue to fight and scrap and claw our way back into games that sometimes would get away from us in the past. Our dugout stays into it and we’re right there.”

Like Judge, Baltimore’s Anthony Santander has enjoyed success in the season series. He launched a three-run homer in the series opener to give him six of his team-leading 16 homers on the campaign against the Yankees.

Santander, however, is just 2-for-14 with five strikeouts against Saturday starter Gerrit Cole (9-2, 3.02).

Cole, 31, is 3-0 with a 3.12 ERA and 36 strikeouts in four starts in July. The right-hander owns a 5-2 record with a 2.11 ERA and 0.84 WHIP in nine career starts against Baltimore after splitting a pair of decisions against the club in May.

The bullpen is a different story after Michael King sustained an elbow injury in the eighth inning on Friday. After delivering an 0-2 slider to Baltimore’s Ramon Urias, King walked off the mound.

The New York Post reported early Saturday that King sustained a broken right elbow.

Fellow reliever Aroldis Chapman is 0-3 with a bloated 11.70 ERA in his past 13 games. The fireballer gave up the home run by Santander.

Lyles, 31, saw a two-start winning streak end after permitting six runs on as many hits — including two homers — in 2 2/3 innings of a 7-5 setback at the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday.

The right-hander is 2-2 with a 4.18 ERA in six career appearances (five starts) vs. the Yankees.

Brian Cashman signs 4-year contract to remain Yankees GM

Lucas Peltier-USA TODAY Sports
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SAN DIEGO — Brian Cashman has signed a four-year contract to remain the New York Yankees Senior Vice President and General Manager. The announcement was made during the first day of baseball’s Winter Meetings.

Cashman, New York’s GM since 1998, had been working on a handshake agreement since early November, when his five-year contract expired.

The Yankees were swept by four games in the AL Championship Series and haven’t reached the World Series since winning in 2009. It is the franchise’s longest title drought since an 18-year gap between 1978-96.

Cashman’s main goal during the offseason is trying to re-sign AL MVP Aaron Judge.

Judge hit an American League-record 62 homers this season with a .311 batting average and 131 RBIs. He turned down the Yankees’ offer on the eve of opening day of a seven-year contract that would have paid $213.5 million from 2023-29.

While Judge remains on the market, Cashman was able to re-sign Anthony Rizzo on Nov. 15 to a two-year contract worth $40 million after turning down a $16 million player option.

Cashman has been the Yankees general manager since 1998. He has been with the organization since 1986, when he was a 19-year old intern in the scouting department. In his 25 seasons as GM, the Yankees have reached the postseason 21 times, including four World Series championships and six American League titles.