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Under-fire Sonny Gray puts up zeroes in Yankees’ win over O’s.

BALTIMORE — Aaron Boone views the world through a large glass that is always more than half full. A struggling pitcher will work out the problems with his coach. An ice-cold batter is always getting closer to escaping Hitters Hell. Yet hours before Sonny Gray faced the woeful Orioles on Wednesday night at Camden Yards,...
Time: 22:41     Date: 11.07.2018
Last US Sport News: Under-fire Sonny Gray puts up zeroes in Yankees’ win over O’s. NY Post 24 - US News

A struggling pitcher will work out the problems with his coach. An ice-cold batter is always getting closer to escaping Hitters Hell.

Yet hours before Sonny Gray faced the woeful Orioles on Wednesday night at Camden Yards, the Yankees’ manager admitted that at some point Gray would have to pitch better than he did in his previous three starts, which were awful.

“This is the big leagues, so you are constantly being evaluated,’’ Boone said of Gray. “You are constantly under pressure to perform.’’

After Gray pitched the Yankees to a 9-0 victory in front of a meager crowd of 17,808, he will be evaluated far more differently than he was following his previous three starts, in which he was 0-3 with a 12.23 ERA.

In six innings, Gray didn’t allow a run, limited the Orioles to three hits, walked one and matched his season high with eight strikeouts.

Greg Bird belts a grand slam in the third inning.AP

Gray improved to 6-7 with his first victory since June 18 and had plenty of help from the suddenly hot Greg Bird.

The left-handed hitting first baseman followed Tuesday night’s four-RBI game (which included a three-run homer) with a grand slam that fueled a five-run third inning against Dylan Bundy.

The victory enabled the Yankees to split a four-game series against the worst team in baseball and move to Cleveland for four games against the AL Central-leading Indians beginning Thursday night. They are 4-3 on the 11-game road trip and remained 3 ½ lengths back of the AL East-leading Red Sox, who beat the Rangers, 4-2.

Tyler Wade started at second base and went 3-for-5 and homered for the first time as a big leaguer. Austin Romine’s sixth homer upped the lead to 7-0 in the seventh. Giancarlo Stanton went 4-for-5 and drove in two runs.

Gray’s brief Yankees career has been pedestrian at best, but he likes working at Camden Yards. In three starts as a Yankee, he is 3-0 with a 0.51 ERA and has whiffed 19 and walked three in 17 ²/₃ innings in Baltimore.

Those numbers undoubtedly have more to do with the Orioles being awful since Gray joined the Yankees last August than they do with him mastering how to pitch in a park built for hitters.

Gray was perfect in four of the first five innings and worked out of a jam in the second, when he fanned Danny Valencia and induced Joey Rickard to ground out with runners on first and second.

Brett Gardner’s one-out walk in the second looked innocent, but it was the start of a five-run rally that was highlighted by Bird’s first career grand slam.

With runners on first and second and two outs, Stanton singled off third baseman Tim Beckham’s glove to score Aaron Judge with the game’s first run. Bundy loaded the bases by walking Aaron Hicks and watched Bird drive a 2-2 pitch off the right-field foul pole for a 5-0 Yankees lead.

It was Bird’s second homer in as many games and his seventh of the season.

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