All rise: Judge's clutch HR keys comeback

With fellow 'Baby Bombers' Sanchez, Bird on shelf, Yanks' RF delivers 1st dinger

All rise: Judge's clutch HR keys comeback

BALTIMORE -- The meeting of ball against barrel registered no particular sensation in Aaron Judge's arms, a sign of pure contact. But as the Yankees wrapped up what has been a trying first road trip, they certainly felt the residual impact of the slugger's big swing.

Judge slammed a game-tying home run off Mychal Givens in the eighth inning and -- paced by Starlin Castro's go-ahead RBI single -- the Yankees rallied for four more runs in the ninth, handing the Orioles a 7-3 defeat on Sunday at Camden Yards.

"The first [homer] is always the toughest, to be honest," Judge said. "I'm more excited about the win. This is going to be great, going back to Yankee Stadium and seeing our fans on our Opening Day in New York."

Judge had roped a bullet in his previous at-bat, measured at 115.9 mph by Statcast™ -- the hardest-hit ball by a Yankee in the last two seasons. Judge said he was stunned to be held to a single, but because it rocketed out to the left-field wall so quickly, first-base coach Tony Pena had no choice.

Judge's diving catch ends game

That snapped a 0-for-11 skid for Judge, and there was no doubt about his drive off Givens, which traveled an estimated 376 feet for Judge's fifth career homer.

"Our young kids have had some good at-bats," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "There's been some struggles, but I think their at-bats have been pretty good, and you can't get so caught up in the results. I've liked his at-bats, he's been patient, and that's a big home run."

The victory carried emotional weight with fellow 'Baby Bombers' Gary Sanchez and Greg Bird sidelined. Sanchez is on the disabled list with a right biceps strain while Bird -- already hobbled by a right ankle bruise -- spent most of the afternoon in the clubhouse trying to recover from an illness.

"Just to come back in that game, we were down, and it just shows the team we have," Dellin Betances said. "We're not going to give up. We're going to keep fighting. Obviously losing Gary is a tough blow for us, but we've got to be able to pick it up."

Judge's RBI groundout

While Girardi has repeatedly said that his team was a few hits and a few strikes away from having a much better season-opening trip, their 2-4 record heading home looks more palatable than 1-5.

CC Sabathia battled through six innings, becoming the first Yankees starter to complete that many frames, but the bats let Wade Miley off the hook despite seven walks. Sparkplug Ronald Torreyes smashed a two-run triple off Tommy Wilson in the sixth inning that fired up the Yanks' bench.

Filling in for the injured Didi Gregorius, Torreyes had three hits on Sunday and will open his second season in the Bronx as the unlikely team leader in RBIs (seven), while standing tall as a favorite among the players in the clubhouse.

"It's been awesome," Torreyes said through an interpreter. "Whenever they put me in last year, I was able to contribute a little bit. Now I'm doing so on a daily basis, which is great."

Judge said that the victory takes some pressure off the Yankees in advance of Monday's home opener.

"You start soaking in the moment. Not too many people get to wear pinstripes and be on that field," Judge said. "Any time I get to be out there and enjoy what's going on, I'm looking forward to that."

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.