By MIKE FITZPATRICK
The Associated Press
NEW YORK — Young and old, from top to bottom, the New York Yankees are quickly growing into a powerful force at the plate.
Brett Gardner, Aaron Judge and the thundering Yankees picked up right where they left off the previous night, steamrolling past the Baltimore Orioles 12-4 on Saturday for their fourth straight victory.
Gardner homered twice from the leadoff spot and had his first four RBIs of the season. Austin Romine, the No. 9 batter, also went deep and knocked in five runs.
“It’s fun when everybody’s hittin’ the ball out of the yard,” Romine said. “We’re enjoying it and we’re just trying to stay on the roll, ride the wave.”
Judge, not to be outdone, clocked his latest colossal homer and scored four times as the Yankees won their 14th in 17 games to boost the top record in the majors to 15-7. They are 10-1 at home.
And all this without injured catcher Gary Sanchez, who did his own Babe Ruth impression as a rookie last year with 20 homers and a whopping 1.032 OPS in 53 games.
“We’ve gotten contributions from everybody, all over the place, and that’s why we’ve been successful,” manager Joe Girardi said.
Michael Pineda (3-1) did not allow an earned run in 5 1/3 innings, striking out eight, and the Yankees knocked Baltimore out of first place in the AL East for the first time this season.
Orioles starter Ubaldo Jimenez (1-1) got chased with one out in the fourth for the second consecutive start. The veteran right-hander issued three costly walks and was tagged for a season-high seven runs — six earned.
In a series-opening slugfest Friday night, the Yankees hit five homers and rallied from eight runs down for a 14-11 victory capped by Matt Holliday’s three-run shot in the 10th inning.
Less than 15 hours later, it was a little guy who got them going.
Gardner, who began the day batting .188, sent Jimenez’s second pitch into the second deck in right field for his seventh leadoff homer. It was his first long ball since July 30 last season, ending droughts of 66 games and 261 at-bats.
“Two or three years, it seemed like,” Gardner said. “Guys have been giving me a hard time, asking me how many I’ve got. So it’s nice to get that first one out of the way.”
In the second, the 33-year-old Gardner added a three-run shot for his third career multihomer game.
Romine hit a sacrifice fly in the second, a two-run single in the fourth and a two-run homer in the sixth, making him the first No. 9 batter with a five-RBI game for the Yankees since Girardi drove in seven runs during a 21-3 rout at Texas in August 1999.
Judge, the muscular, 6-foot-7 rookie who entered tied for the AL lead in homers, socked his 10th of the year in the seventh inning, an opposite-field shot that soared beyond the right-center bullpen.
It was his third home run in two days and fourth in four games. Judge also walked twice and singled during a perfect afternoon at the plate.
“We knew he was extremely talented,” Girardi said. “It’s been fun to watch, I can tell you that.”