It was Josh Donaldson’s ground ball in the 10th that gave the Yankees their 16th win of the season and clinched a playoff berth for the Yankees on Thursday night, but it’s Aaron Judge’s long fly ball at the bottom of the ninth that everyone will remember. Donaldson’s ground throw to shortstop gave the Yankees a 5-4 victory over the Red Sox, but much of the 43,123 at Yankee Stadium remained disappointing.
For the second night in a row, Judge did not homer and is just a shy of the American League and Yankees single-season record of 61 set by Roger Maris in 1961.
“I thought Judge had it with the tour, but it was nice to be able to pass for the team,” Donaldson said. “I keep getting by and really trying to do my best.”
Judge finally connected on a ball Thursday night. After walking three times and striking out, the Yankees slugger came to the plate with one out in the ninth of the tie and had two pitches to bat. He fouled the first fastball and then tricked the second, another fastball. The crowd, already on their feet for each of their shots, shouted as the ball sailed high and 404 feet deep, just to the wall of Yankee Stadium’s dead center field. It would have been a record home run at eight other baseball fields, but on Thursday night in the Bronx, it was just a steal.
The victory, which was the third straight for the Yankees (91-58), clinched their 58th playoff appearance in franchise history and their sixth consecutive trip to the playoffs. He also knocked the Bombers’ magic number down to six to win the American League East.
“A great achievement, a lot of hard work over the season to get to this point,” Judge said. “But I think you’re going to ask anybody in this room and they’ll tell you the job isn’t done. We have the ultimate goal of going out there and winning our division and really getting ready for the playoffs, but that’s step number one and step number one on many steps to come, c ‘is on.
Giancarlo Stanton hit his 28th homer of the season and his second in three games. Kyle Higashioka and Harrison Bader both made runs on sacrifice balls. Jameson Taillon held the Red Sox to four hits in six innings. He walked one and struck out eight. Clarke Schmidt gave up four runs; a three-run homer to pinch hitter Reese McGuire and a solo shot for rookie Triston Casas. Clay Holmes pitched two scoreless innings, assisted by Judge.
The slugger produced outstanding defensive play in the top of the ninth, playing Tommy Pham’s first fly ball against the wall in the corner of right field and shooting shortstop Isiah Kiner-Falefa to get the Red Sox left fielder out .
The game was that of an MVP, Red Sox manager Alex Cora told reporters.
“I just try to make a game like anybody else,” Judge said. “Lots of respect for those guys over there. So that means a lot. »
The Yankees slugger has 60 major-league home runs, one shy of the record as Maris’ family was back at the stadium Thursday night.
They didn’t get to see much action from Judge.
Michael Wacha walked Judge four pitches to start his night and was booed loudly. In the third run, the judge worked a seven-length walk. In the fifth inning, Wacha needed five pitches to hit Judge swinging on a substitution. In the seventh, with a runner on second base, Red Sox right-hander John Schreiber walked Judge on five pitches. His flying ball from Matt Barnes to the center field wall had fans screaming to groan when he was short.
It was the fourth game of the season in which Judge was defeated three times.
Judge also leads the American League with a .316 batting average, just ahead of Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts (.314) and Luis Arraez of the Twins (.313). With his major league-leading 60 home runs and MLB-best 128 RBI, Judge could also become the third Yankee to win a triple crown, joining Lou Gehrig (1934) and Mickey Mantle (1956). The only player to win a triple crown in the last 50 years was Tigres’ Miguel Cabrera in 2012.