In his 18th plate appearance since hitting his 60th home run of the season, Aaron Judge finally let a little frustration show.
The Yankees slugger has gone four games with everyone at Yankee Stadium standing and waiting with bated breath every time he steps to the plate waiting to see him tie the American League single season home run record. And Judge has heard them groan when he didn’t hit a home run.
Saturday, after being called on a checked swing in the seventh inning of the Yankees’ 7-5 win over the Red Sox, Judge walked away muttering to himself and issued a dismissive wave at the first base umpire who called him out.
It was the first glimpse of any frustration since he has been on the verge of matching Roger Maris’ iconic Yankees and AL record set in 1961.
“You wouldn’t know he’s going for 61 here, but every at-bat everyone out there is making noise,” Anthony Rizzo said. “I think it’s good. I think he thrives off it. It’s just gonna get louder as we go deeper and start the playoffs and in October. So, I mean, obviously we all want him to do it here, how special it would be to do it here at the Stadium.
“Hopefully, tomorrow on our biggest stage, Sunday Night Baseball.”
Rizzo, hitting behind Judge, homered, as did Gleyber Torres and Oswaldo Cabrera for the Yankees (93-58). It was their sixth straight win and dropped their magic number to three to win the division.
Sunday night in the series finale against their division rival on national TV gives Judge one last game to make history during this homestand in the Bronx.
For the first time since he hit his 60th home run of the season, Judge was really challenged by a pitcher with fastballs.
Right-hander Nick Pivetta went at him with three fastballs in the first inning, striking him out. In the third, Pivetta came with three fastballs, dropped in a knuckle curve and then got him to fly out to center on another fastball. In the fifth, Pivetta was a little more cautious, but did challenge him with a 2-1 fastball down the middle which the slugger was late on and fouled off. They battled to a full count before Judge walked after seven pitches.
In the seventh, with the shadows over home plate making it even harder for the hitters to see, John Schreiber used his sinker to set up his slider to battle back from 2-0 to 2-2. Judge fouled off two hanging sliders, before Schreiber got him on a checked swing at a 93 mph fastball.
“This is the ultimate competition at the highest level and, again, even for a guy that hits 60 home runs, he still doesn’t hit them every day,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “It’s a lot of things that have to line up to go deep, even for the best of the best.
“So as long as he continues to take good at-bats, make good swing decisions. It’ll happen sooner rather than later.”
As careful as Schreiber was with Judge, he gave Rizzo an 88 mph changeup to hammer. The 343-foot, two-run shot gave the Yankees a 7-5 lead. It was Rizzo’s career-high tying 32nd home run of the season, the fourth time he’d reach that number in his career. He also hit 32 in 2014, 2016 and 2017.
“Just staying short. Tough shadows there. Really not trying to do too much. Putting a good swing on it, obviously was the difference maker,” Rizzo said of his fourth homer in his last eight games.
“Puts us in a position tomorrow to sweep.”
Torres hit his 24th home run of the season in the first and Cabrera hit his fourth big league homer in the fourth, a two-run shot to right field. He also scored on Isiah Kiner-Falefa’s single in the second. Josh Donaldson singled in Kyle Higashioka in the fifth.
Domingo German gave up a two-run home run to Triston Casas and a solo shot to Reese McGuire in the second and that was it. He struck out five and walked one over five innings.
Source: Berkshire mont