The hunt for Aaron Judge’s story will go international, after he had at least one other robbed at bat in the Bronx on Sunday night.
For the fifth straight game — this one shortened by rain — the Yankees slugger was stuck at 60 homers, one shy of Roger Maris’ American League and franchise record.
Judge went 1 for 2 with a brace and a walk in the Yankees’ seventh straight victory, 2-0 in six innings over the Red Sox. He was about to start the end of the seventh inning, but the game went into a timeout after the sixth inning due to torrential downpours and was finally called after over an hour and a half.
The Yankees (94-58) begin a three-game series in Toronto on Monday, needing just a win over the Blue Jays to clinch the AL East, though all eyes will continue to be on Judge.
“I think anyone would want more at-bats, but you can ask anyone in this room, we’re thrilled to have a narrow win and a win closer to clinching the division,” Judge said.
After hitting a pair of home runs in the Yankees’ last road game, Judge entered the six-game homestand with 59 home runs. Then, after reaching 60th on Tuesday night, he looked set to tie and possibly break Maris’ record in front of a packed Yankee Stadium – which was sold out for the third game in a row on Sunday.
Instead, Judge finished the 5-for-19 homestand with one home run, three doubles, seven walks and seven strikeouts, with fans eagerly awaiting every pitch thrown at him.
All about Aaron Judge and his pursuit of the home run record:
“Maybe the first home game was a bit different, because I didn’t expect that. [crowd reaction] “I’ve never been in this situation,” said Judge, who reached base safely in 24 straight games. “But I think after the first game it’s kind of settled to consider it a post-season game.”
It’s only the ninth time this season that Judge has gone five or more straight games without a home run.
Judge’s family were on hand at the homestand for a chance to see him make history, and will follow him to Toronto – “They better be there,” Judge said with a smile. The Maris family also attended foster care, and at least one of Maris’ sons is also expected to travel to Toronto.
“Of course I want him to,” manager Aaron Boone said. “But [home runs] are hard to find, even for a guy who hits them a ton. It is not so easy. … I just want him to continue to be where he is, where he comes up and handles it all so well and to continue to go out there and have winning bats.
In his first at bat against Red Sox rookie right-hander Brayan Bello, Judge ripped a 96-mph lead off the third base line for a brace.
In the third inning, Judge trailed 0-2 before going full count and walking, which was met with boos from the crowd.
Bello then gave the judge a slider to hit in the fifth inning and the slugger sent a charge into the crowd when he got it in the air, but he got under for an easy flyout.
Nestor Cortes delivered the last strong start of his All-Star season, throwing six innings on one hit. The Yankees gave him the lead late in the fourth, which Oswaldo Cabrera led with a double on the sidelines. Cabrera then stole the third and came in to score on Jose Trevino’s two-out single through the left side to go up 1-0.
The Red Sox gave the Yankees an insurance run in the sixth inning, when right fielder Rob Refsnyder dropped a two-out fly ball that allowed Aaron Hicks to score from the first.
But Judge was left in the circle on deck for the second game in a row, meaning his pursuit of history will head to Toronto.
“It’s something you dream of as a kid,” Judge said. “So it’s always fun.”
New York Post