Yanks travel to Baltimore for Wild showdown

Yanks travel to Baltimore for Wild showdown

Meaningful September baseball has arrived, and the Orioles and Yankees will continue their respective battles for a postseason berth when they square off in a critical three-game set that begins on Labor Day in Baltimore.

The Yankees own the season series so far, 7-5, though New York has had some recent struggles that have caused its AL Wild Card lead to dwindle. The O's, who won seven straight last month to get back into contention, are in a stretch of six of seven series against the AL East.

Baltimore will send ace Dylan Bundy to the mound for Monday's 2:05 p.m. ET opener. Bundy, working on extra rest again as part of a six-man rotation, is coming off a masterful one-hit shutout win over the Mariners. It marked the first career complete game for Bundy, who has already established himself as Baltimore's best starter in his first full season in the rotation.

The Yankees will counter with left-hander Jordan Montgomery, opting to bypass veteran Jaime Garcia's turn in the rotation.

"Monty has pitched OK against them and we decided to go with Monty," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "Jaime will be inserted somewhere in the next time through after this. He's pitched OK. He's given us a chance to win."

Montgomery last started for the Yankees in the second game of Wednesday's doubleheader against the Indians, taking the loss after permitting four runs and six hits in four innings. He's 1-1 with a 3.31 ERA in three starts against Baltimore this season.

Three things to know about this game

• Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy (right wrist) could be available during the three-game series. Hardy has been dealing with some right elbow discomfort in coming back from the wrist injury.

• The Yankees entered play on Sunday with a 68-38 record in games where they homer this season. That is the third-most wins in the Majors in such games, behind only the Dodgers (80) and Astros (70). When the Yankees don't homer they are 4-25, the fewest wins in such games by a team this season.

• Jonathan Schoop and Manny Machado have both been swinging hot bats for the O's. Schoop is batting .354 (34-for-96) with five home runs and 19 RBIs in his last 22 games, while Machado is batting .346 (44-for-127) with 12 home runs and 33 RBIs in his last 29 games.

Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.