That is why the Yankees want to take control of their four-game series with the Orioles when the teams meet for the third time in two days on Tuesday at Camden Yards. The Yankees and Orioles split a doubleheader on Monday -- Baltimore rallied from an early three-run deficit in the opener to win 5-4 -- and New York took the nightcap, 10-2.
The split left the Yankees 2 1/2 games behind the Red Sox, who beat Texas Monday night.
New York is expected to start Masahiro Tanaka (7-2, 4.58) Tuesday. He has been out since June 9, on the disabled list when the right-hander strained both hamstrings running the bases against the Mets.
Tanaka had gotten off to a good start this season, and the Yankees need him in their battle with the Red Sox. He won five straight before heading to the disabled list and has a 3-3 career record with a 3.90 ERA in 10 starts versus Baltimore.
Tanaka will face Andrew Cashner (2-9, 4.39), a right-hander the Orioles signed late in the offseason. Cashner has pitched well at times but has been hurt by the long-ball -- he's already given up 15 homers in 94 1/3 innings this year.
That's the same amount he allowed in all of 2017 with Texas when Cashner threw 166 2/3 innings.
Cashner has a 2-2 record with a 2.25 ERA against the Yankees. He's lost four in a row overall this season with his last victory coming on May 21 versus the White Sox.
The Yankees called up Luis Cessa between games of Monday's doubleheader, and he started and won the nightcap. They sent down Brandon Drury after he played in the opener, back to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, to make room for Cessa.
Cessa gave the Yankees six shutout innings and let them rebound from the first game loss where they wasted an early 3-0 lead. Brett Gardner went 4-for-6 in the nightcap, including a two-run homer, and said Cessa impressed him.
"We know what kind of stuff he has," Gardner said in a post-game TV interview. "I thought he threw the ball really, really well. I thought he was great."
Cessa and reliever Giovanni Gallegos, who was brought up as the Yankees' 26th man before the doubleheaders, were sent back to Scranton/Wikes-Barre after the game
The Orioles called up pitcher Jimmy Yacabonis to start game one Monday and used him as their 26th man. He was subsequently sent back to Triple-A Norfolk.
The struggling Orioles are searching for something -- anything to give them a lift -- after stopping another losing streak. Baltimore had dropped six in a row before Danny Valencia's three-run homer in the sixth off CC Sabathia gave it a 5-4 victory in that opener to the doubleheader.
"Obviously, you want to win every game, but that's not been the case for us recently," Valencia told The Baltimore Sun. "Coming out here and winning the first of the doubleheader feels good."
Now, the Orioles, who could be getting ready to trade Manny Machado and others in the coming days, are looking for anything to make them feel good in what's been a very tough season.