Yankees, Orioles primed to play two on Saturday

BALTIMORE — The New York Yankees had problems with the Baltimore Orioles again Friday night but escaped with a 7-5 victory in 10 innings. That improved New York’s season record against the team with the worst record in the majors to just 7-6.

But the Yankees will have two more chances against Baltimore on Saturday as the teams meet in a day-night doubleheader at Camden Yards. Game 1 will have Jimmy Yacabonis (0-1, 6.75 ERA) starting for the Orioles against J.A. Happ (14-6, 3.84).

The nightcap will see Sonny Gray (9-8, 5.34) go for New York versus Baltimore’s Andrew Cashner (4-11, 4.84). In Game 1, Yacabonis will be the designated 26th man for the Orioles since it’s a doubleheader.

Baltimore is trying to make Yacabonis, a hard-throwing right-hander, into a starter, but he has no career record and a 7.71 ERA against New York. Happ is 6-6 with a 3.03 ERA versus the Orioles during his career.

In the second game, Cashner has a 2-2 career mark along with a 3.05 ERA in games against the Yankees. Gray is 5-5 with a 5.08 ERA when the right-hander pitches against Baltimore.

Neil Walker and Luke Voit both homered in the 10th inning to break a 4-4 tie Friday and gave the injury-riddled Yankees the win. Former Orioles player Zach Britton took home the save in his first game versus his former employers.

Britton has struggled at times since coming over to the Yankees and gave up a solo homer to Chris Davis in Friday’s game. Yankees manager Aaron Boone said they’re confident that the left-hander with the devastating sinker will find his way wherever they decide to use him.

“We just want to get him to where he’s consistently getting in that rhythm and that groove,” Boone told reporters. “We feel like from there he can take off in any kind of role we put him in.”

The Orioles have lost a lot of key players as they’ve taken major first steps toward rebuilding in the last few weeks. Mark Trumbo (knee injury) could be next as several reports have him headed for season-ending knee surgery.

“There are quite a few different ideas,” he told The Baltimore Sun. “So ultimately we have to meet and decide what’s best for the short term and the long term, so we’ll see.”

Losing Trumbo would hurt a Baltimore offense that has performed much better, especially at home, in recent weeks. Counting the trades of Manny Machado and Jonathan Schoop, the loss of Trumbo means Baltimore will now be without three of its major power forces it had when the season began.

But the Orioles now have more speed in their lineup, thanks to rookie outfielder Cedric Mullins and newly-arrived infielder Jonathan Villar. They often bat in the 1-2 spot and give the Baltimore offense a jolt.

The Orioles have spent much of the past seven seasons waiting for someone to hit a big homer. Now, though, Baltimore is doing a better job of creating and manufacturing runs, and that could be why the team is faring better at the plate despite losing some crucial players.