NEW YORK (AP) _ Didi Gregorius and Greg Bird both homered for the second straight game, rookie Jordan Montgomery pitched six shutout innings and the New York Yankees downed the Baltimore Orioles 9-3 Saturday for their fourth win in a row.
The Yankees (82-66) extended their stretch of winning seasons to 25, the second-longest such streak in major league history behind their own 39 straight from 1926-64.
The Yankees began the day three games behind AL East-leading Boston. New York was atop the wild-card race, four games ahead of Minnesota.
Gregorius and Bird each hit three-run homers and Todd Frazier added a two-run shot as the Yankees won for the seventh time in eight games. They are a season-high 16 games over .500.
Baltimore has lost nine of 10 as it continues to fall out of playoff contention.
Montgomery (8-7) scattered four hits in his fifth start against the Orioles this year. The rookie left-hander struck out six and walked one.
Manager Buck Showalter, pitching coach Roger McDowell and a trainer came out to check on starter Jeremy Hellickson (8-10) after a two-out walk to Chase Headley in the third. After a brief discussion and no warmup throws, Hellickson remained in the game and walked Aaron Judge on four pitches.
Gregorius followed by driving a 1-0 fastball into the right field seats, giving the Yankees a 3-0 lead. His career-high 23 home runs tie Derek Jeter (2004) for the second-highest total as a shortstop in franchise history, trailing Jeter’s 24 in 1999.
Bird chased Hellickson in the fourth, hitting a shot deep into the second deck in right that doubled the score to 6-0.
Hellickson allowed multiple homers for the ninth time this season. The veteran right-hander is 2-5 with a 7.29 ERA since being traded from Philadelphia on July 28.
The Yankees have scored 150 runs against Baltimore this season, the most by any team versus an opponent since 1961.
In the lineup after sitting out Friday with lower back stiffness, Frazier drove home Gregorius with a 416-foot drive to center in the seventh. It was his 26th homer of the season and 10th with New York.
Orioles outfielder Austin Hays singled in the third for his first major league hit, and added a two-run homer off Chasen Shreve in the ninth.
Shreve was pulled after loading the bases with two outs. Giovanny Gallegos balked in a run before fanning Anthony Santander.
Judge struck out for the major league-leading 196th time, breaking a tie with Curtis Granderson for most in Yankees history.
Headley extended his hitting streak to 14 games with a sixth-inning single.
The Yankees recalled INF Miguel Andujar and RHP Jonathan Holder from Triple-A before the game. Back in June, Andujar became the first rookie in franchise history to collect at least three hits and four RBIs in his debut. Holder is 1-1 with a 3.58 ERA in 34 appearances with New York this year.
Orioles LHP Tanner Scott was with the team and on the taxi squad. He will be activated Sunday.
Orioles: J.J. Hardy (broken right wrist) started at shortstop, going 2 for 3 with a walk and scoring a run in his first game since June 18. The two-time All-Star was activated from the 60-day DL on Sept. 8.
Yankees: RHP Adam Warren (lower back spasm) was expected to throw on flat ground Saturday.
Orioles: RHP Ubaldo Jimenez (5-10, 6.75 ERA) has been hit hard by the Yankees this season, allowing 12 runs (11 earned) in 8 2/3 innings.
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