BALTIMORE — After the first eight Yankees games of this young season, there were plenty of questions about the offense. Saturday night, the Bombers started finding some answers. Josh Donaldson hit his first home run as a Yankee and the Bombers offense rallied for a 5-2 rain-delayed win over the Orioles at Camden Yards.

The Yankees look to take the series on Sunday. They have not lost a series here since September 2020. They will need the offense to keep building on Saturday night if they are going to make that happen.

“I mean, obviously we were capable of doing that. So far this season, it’s kind of hit or miss. But we had some really good at bats right there,” Donaldson said. “And we were able to take advantage of some mistakes.”

Aaron Hicks had two hits and a walk. Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Jose Trevino each had two hits as well.

Donaldson not only smashed his first homer of the season, but doubled in the eighth as well.

“It’s a good step in the right direction. I felt like today we were in control of our at-bats for the most part. Our pitching staff has been dynamite so far this year. We gotta give those guys a little bit of help,” Donaldson said. “I think good things are in the future.”

The Yankees went into Saturday night’s game not having shown much change from last season’s inconsistent offense.

They went into Saturday night’s game against the Orioles ranked second in the big leagues in average exit velocity and hard hit percentage, but were still below the league average in OPS (.684), OPS+ (99) and slugging (.376).

They ranked 26th out of 30 in runs scored per game. Their 3.12 runs per game was only better than the Brewers, Diamondbacks and Orioles. They’ve had the sixth most runners left on base with 59 this season and ranked the fifth worst hitters with runners in scoring position, hitting .180. They had the third worst run-scoring percentage in the big leagues, meaning only 20% of their runners who reach base eventually score a run — better only than the Orioles and Diamondbacks.

Another bad habit that seems to have carried over from last season is their penchant for grounding into double plays; they are second in the majors with nine so far. Last season, the Yankees were second in the big leagues with 154 GDPs, the most in the American League.

“I just think we’re better. I think we’re better overall,” Aaron Boone said Friday night when asked about the team falling back into bad habits. “And I think that’s going to manifest itself. Obviously, we want to be better than 2-for-11, but that wasn’t the problem [Friday night]. We didn’t get enough of anything tonight. That’s, 11 innings, seven hits, maybe. I don’t know how many walks we had. So it was just that we didn’t have a very good offensive night. That’s what we got to turn the page from. I’m confident in our guys that we will get it rolling.”

That confidence paid off.

“I think that even when we hadn’t scored, before the rain delay, I was like, ‘Man, these are the bats you want to happen.’ I just felt from [the start], it was much better than last night,” Boone said. “And then we’re able to finally break through there, obviously, but I thought a lot of guys had a lot of really good at bats.”

After a 49-minute delay for rain and hail, the Yankees came out and found some offense. They returned with Hicks on first base, one out and Aaron Judge at bat. The Yankees slugger worked a walk after falling behind 0-2. Anthony Rizzo drove in Hicks with a ground-ball single to right field. He then tried to score on Stanton’s double, but was called out at the plate on review.

Donaldson crushed his first home run as a Yankee deep into right-center field 403 feet to give the Yankees a 4-2 lead. It was also the first home run the Orioles have allowed at Camden Yards this season.

Trevino, who had two hits including a double, scored on a wild pitch in the sixth.

Jameson Taillon went 4.2 innings, allowing a two-run homer to Cedric Mullins, but otherwise shutting the Orioles down. He even returned to the mound after the lengthy delay to try and push through the fifth. JP Sears picked up his first big league win with a scoreless inning of work then was optioned to Triple-A after the game. Michael King came in for another clutch high-leverage 1.1 innings and held the Orioles scoreless. Clay Holmes picked up the save.

“We knew coming into the year that they were going to be a super strength for us. I mean, they’re nasty out there so it doesn’t matter who you’re turning it over to, you know, they’re gonna be prepared and ready to go,” Taillon said of the bullpen. “I have no problem turning it over to any of the 11 guys we have out there.”


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