BALTIMORE—The Orioles have had little success in the past hitting against Nestor Cortes and stopping Aaron Judge. They had very little on Sunday.
Judge hit two home runs and has 37 in 90 games against the Orioles and 31 in 47 games at Camden Yards. Cortes, who was briefly an Oriole as a Rule 5 draft pick in 2018, allowed two runs on four hits in 5 1/3 innings as the pair paced the New York Yankees to a 5-3 victory over the Orioles before an announced crowd of 29,221 on Sunday. The Orioles also dropped their first home series.
Cortes (2-0) is 4-0 with a 1.37 in his career against the Orioles. The left-hander allowed a one-out single in the sixth, and a double by Ryan Mountcastle before departing. Anthony Santander hit a two-run double to cut the Yankees’ lead to 4-2.
Catcher Adley Rutschman was 4-for-4 with three singles and a home run.
Tyler Wells (0-1) started for the first time this season. On Monday night, he pitched five hitless innings in relief after Kyle Bradish suffered a bruised right foot. Wells allowed four runs on six hits in six innings.
New York (6-3) scored on three straight singles in the first. The second, a bloop by Anthony Rizzo. fell between leftfielder Austin Hays and Gunnar Hnederson.
“We lost a ball in the sun in the first inning,” manager Brandon Hyde said.
Judge homered in the third against Wells and in the eighth against reliever Logan Gillaspie.
Franchy Cordero, who didn’t make the Orioles in spring training and opted out of his minor league contract, hit a two-run homer in the fifth, his second home run in three games against the Orioles (4-5).
“Besides two pitches, I thought he was outstanding,” Hyde said about Wells. “I thought he really had good stuff. He filled up the strike zone. He had all his pitches, made just a couple of mistakes.”
Cordero hit .413 with two home runs and nine RBIs in 18 games for the Orioles this spring.
“We just made a couple of terrible pitches to him,” Hyde said. “Give Franchy credit. He had a great spring for us. He hit the ball well, put two good swings on balls that weren’t located well.”
Wells struck out six and didn’t walk a batter.
“I felt like I was in control with all my pitches. I think that was probably just a bad sequence to Judge,” Wells said. “In the past, he’s shown he’s done well against me. Definitely a mistake pitch.”
Judge is 8-for-17 against Wells with three home runs and five RBIs.
Rutschman’s home run in the eighth against Jimmy Cordero cut the lead to 5-3.
“I’d rather have the win. That’s what it comes down to,” Rutschman said
The Orioles lost two of three to the Red Sox and Yankees in their first nine games.
“We’re playing some close games. I feel like we’re making some mistakes that we can’t do against good clubs,” Hyde said. “We haven’t played our best defense yet. A long way to go, a lot of games left, and we’re going to be playing these guys a lot more.”
Notes: The Oakland Athletics visit for four games, beginning Monday night. Kyle Gibson (2-0, 4.50) will face JP Sears (0-0, 5.79). Game time is 6:35 p.m. … Mychal Givens, who is on the 15-day injured list because of left knee inflammation, threw a side session in Sarasota. Hyde said Givens needs additional side sessions and perhaps some live batting practices before he’s activated. … Kyle Bradish, who’s on the injured list because of a bruised right foot, threw on Saturday, Hyde said. “That kept his arm moving. The foot’s feeling a lot better. We were lucky there, too.” … DL Hall allowed a run on three hits in 4 1/3 innings as Triple-A Norfolk beat Gwinnett, 7-1. Hall struck out six and walked two. Shortstop Jordan Westburg and third baseman Greg Cullen homered. … Adam Frazier stole the Orioles’ major league-leading 15th base. They’ve been thrown out once.
Stowers demoted, 3 catchers for now: When the Orioles activated catcher James McCann from the 10-day injured list, they elected to keep three catchers — McCann, Rutschman and Anthony Bemboom — and demote outfielder Kyle Stowers to Norfolk.
“We want to see Kyle get everyday at-bats,” Hyde said. “We want to see him get four at-bats a game. It’s still really early in his career. With a row of left-handed starters we’re going to be facing here … we thought it was important for Kyle to get everyday at-bats at Triple-A. I’m sure he’ll be up here at some point.
“Adley’s bat, we want in the lineup. A lot of days when he doesn’t catch, he’ll DH. To add the third catcher, we thought it was important.”
The Yankees started the left-handed Cortes on Sunday, and Oakland’s first three starters — JP Sears, Kyle Muller and Ken Waldichuk — are left-handed. Stowers was hitless in four at-bats with the Orioles.
McCann was happy to be back and said he missed Opening Day.
“It stunk, sitting there and watching the team play and knowing that I couldn’t be out there,” he said. “I’m thankful it was s short stay on the IL.”
McCann had a left oblique injury last year, but he didn’t think this one was as bad.
“I was pretty confident, based on the injury that I had last year, and the difference that I was feeling, and the way that we were progressing. I felt good that it was going to be a shorter stay.”
McCann was hitless in two at-bats. Bemboom replaced McCann in the eighth inning after Terrin Vavra pinch-hit for him.