Are the Yankees back? They’re near this important mark

NEW YORK — Maybe the Yankees are back?

During their hot stretch to start the season, they reached a peak of 15 games over .500 when they were 38-23 on June 12. With Thursday’s 13-5 romp over the Orioles at Yankee Stadium, they climbed within one game of that mark to 80-66.

With 16 games remaining, the Yankees are three games behind the Red Sox in the American League East. They started Thursday three games up on the Twins for the first Wild Card position.

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“I just think that we’ve played really well and I think we got some key pieces back that brought some stability,” manager Joe Girardi said, referring to Starlin Castro and Greg Bird, who each spent a long time on the disabled list.

“We seemed to get our bullpen fixed and we played much better. It’s been teams that we’ve been chasing or have been chasing us. These have been important games and these guys have played extremely well. And it’s come from different places a lot of nights. They’re playing really well as a group right now.”

The Yankees have won five of their last six games and nine of their last 12. 

They’ve had four six-run innings in their last 11 games. They also lead the majors with 102 homers with runners on base.

They’re 41-27 at Yankee Stadium this season and have clinched a winning home record for the 26th straight season. That’s the second-longest streak in big-league history, trailing the Yankees’ 47-year streak from 1918-64.

Aaron Judge, who hit two homers Thursday, said the Yankees are “getting hot at the right time.”

“Getting hot at the end, especially,” Judge said. “But these past couple of games, we’ve just been trying to win every pitch, and we’ve been doing that. We did that tonight and we’ve got to keep that rolling.”

Brendan Kuty may be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @BrendanKutyNJ. Find Yankees on Facebook.

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