Saturday, September 24, 2022

Yankees Get Three Homers To Outlast Sox, But Judge Still Waiting On #61

Aaron Judge's best chance at a home run was in the third inning, when he hit this one to center field. Photo by Jason Schott.

The Yankees beat the Boston Red Sox, 7-5, on Saturday afternoon at Yankee Stadium, powered by three home runs, but not one from Aaron Judge, who is still looking for his 61st to tie Roger Maris' Yankee and American League record.

Judge went 0-for-3 with a walk, as he has now gone four games without a homer. In his three at-bats against Boston starting pitcher Nick Pivetta, he struck out looking in the first and then hit a fly ball to center field that he just got under, and then he walked in the fifth. With John Schreiber in for Boston, he struck out on a check swing.

Boone said of what he saw in Judge's at-bats, "I think he's been on stuff all week, you know, or this whole series. You know, Pivetta had a good fastball early, I thought he got some good swings off against him, just missed a few balls, that happens. You know, sometimes you get that one where you get a good swing off and you put it on the net, you know, I mean that's one of those you just miss. He obviously got under one today, again, where he got a good swing off and just skied it to center, and he's done that a few times within this series, and then as that game unfolds, you start getting in the shadows, you've got Schreiber, who's about as tough to do it against right-on-right, especially in the shadows there, so I mean, I think he looks the exactly the same to me as he has, basically. all year, at-bat quality-wise." 

The game was tied at 5, and Anthony Rizzo was up next after Judge struck out, and as the crowd was still reacting to that, the Yankees first baseman blasted a two-run shot to right field to give them a 7-5 lead.

Anthony Rizzo rounding first base on his home run. Photo by Jason Schott.

Rizzo made a bit of history on that one, as it was his 32nd home run of the season, matching a career high, which he accomplished three times with the Chicago Cubs, in 2014, 2016, and 2017.

Boone said of Rizzo, who returned this week after a month on the injured list, "Excited that, you know, he's feeling the way he is now, and really hoping and feeling like we're past the back issue, and just his experience, his everything, I mean, he's a great player, he's a great all-around player, one of our leaders. He's gotten a lot of big hits for us this year, and that was a big one there to really stick it."

While everyone in Yankee Stadium was anticipating a Judge home run, it felt like nobody else has trouble hitting one early in the game.

Gleyber Torres got the Yankees on the board with a solo home run in the first, his 24th of the season. Boston countered against Yankees starter Domingo German with a pair of home runs from a couple of their prospects, as Triston Casas hit a two-run shot for his fourth of the season, followed by a solo shot for Reese McGuire to give them a 3-1 lead.

Isiah Kiner-Falefa got one of those runs back with an RBI single in the second, and then Oswaldo Cabrera blasted a two-run shot to right field to make it 4-3 Yankees. That was the rookie's fourth of the season, and it also gave him 17 RBI, not bad for having been up here for five weeks.

Both starters went five innings, as Pivetta allowed five runs (all earned) on six hits and four walks, with eight strikeouts; and German allowed three runs (all earned) on three hits and a walk, with five strikeouts.

The Yankees turned to left-hander Zack Britton, who would be making his season debut in the sixth inning. It didn't go as planned, as he allowed a run on a hit and three walks, with a strikeout. 

Lou Trivino came on to get the final two outs in the sixth, and he stayed on for the seventh, and allowed a single to Abraham Almonte and struck out Tommy Pham before exiting. Lucas Luetge was in next, and he allowed an RBI single to Alex Verdugo to tie the game at 5.

After Rizzo's two-run shot gave the Yankees a 7-5 lead, Boston had their chances in the eighth, as Luetge walked Casas and gave up a single to Dalbec before exiting, but Clarke Schmidt worked out of trouble.

The Yankees turned to Scott Effross to close in the ninth, and Boston would load the bases before he got Dalbec to ground into a force out to end it.

The Yankees have now won six in a row, and improve to 93-58, and they have opened up a nine-game lead in the American League East over Tampa Bay and Toronto as they close in on the division title. They go for the sweep tomorrow night, and it will be Judge's last chance on this homestand to hit #61 before they head to Toronto on Monday night.

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