NEW YORK — Back in the Bronx, Aaron Judge had another sold-out crowd at Yankee Stadium hoping to see number 62. The wait will extend into a rainy weekend.
Judge went 1 for 2 with a few walks as the Baltimore Orioles defeated the New York Yankees 2-1 on Friday night.
“It was a pretty electric vibe,” said Yankees manager Aaron Boone. “I actually found myself a little nervous for his first at bat, maybe I was just totally focused on it.”
A game after tying the American League’s 61 home run-record set by Yankees star Roger Maris in 1961, Judge struckout in the first inning, singled in the third and walked in the sixth Jordan Lyles (12-11), then walked intentionally in the eighth by rookie Félix Bautista.
“It was a great atmosphere. Probably not an empty seat out there,” Lyles said. “Everyone gets up. Everyone is getting ready for something possible, something great.”
Fans under 47,583 on a chilly fall night buzzed for the 21 pitches each to judge. His next opportunity comes Saturday, the 61st birthday of Maris’ Number 61.
“After every swing he took, you could hear an audible gasp from the entire crowd,” said Orioles rookie catcher Adley Rutschman. “Every time he waved and just a big build-up, so that was pretty cool.”
Judge has six games left: two this weekend against the Orioles and four in Texas ending the regular season.
Judge also bids for the first Triple Crown since Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera in 2012. Judge leads the AL with 130 RBIs, trailing Minnesota’s Luis Arraez in the battle race with 0.3147 to 0.3141.
The night was filled with bad news for the Yankees, who already secured the AL East title and got ready for their Division Series opener on October 11.
Reliever Zack Britton, just back from Tommy John surgery last week, threw a tiebreaking wild pitch in the sixth inning and immediately took off with left arm fatigue.
All-Star closer Clay Holmes had a cortisone injection on Thursday and is unlikely to throw in a game until the playoffs.
“There’s no point in crying about what you have or don’t have,” Boone said. “You have to get the most out of what you do. And the reality is, we still have a lot of really talented guys out there. ”
Giancarlo Stanton went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts and is 1 for 21 with 13 strikeouts in his last five games. He is hitting .140 in 100 at bats since returning on August 25 from a month out with left Achilles tendonitis.
“I hope it’s still a matter of timing what he’s working through,” Boone said. “He’s struggling to find it now.”
Baltimore (81-76) is still alive in his bid to secure an AL wildcard spot, but must finish 5-0 and hope Seattle goes 0-7. The Orioles assured they will end a streak of four consecutive losing seasons.
Ryan Mountcastle singled in a run in the first for his 84th RBI. Oswaldo Cabrera tied the score in the fifth with his fifth homerun since his debut on August 17.
After going 52-110, the Orioles were able to become the first team since at least 1900 to set a winning record a year after losing 110 or more.
“It just means we exceeded expectations and our guys have been fighting all year,” said manager Brandon Hyde. “There’s a lot of appreciation for what these guys have done in the league this year and it’s well deserved.”
MOUTH IS IMPORTANT
Lyles leveled his career high for wins in 2019, giving up four hits in more than seven innings. He tied his season high with nine strikeouts and walked one.
Domingo Germán (2-4) walked his first two batters in the sixth and retired Mountcastle on a groundout, Britton walked Gunnar Henderson, then threw a pitch to pinch-hitter Jesús Aguilar who went to the backstop, and he failed to cover the record . Rookie DL Hall threw a perfect ninth with two strikeouts for his first save since 2019 in Class A.
DJ LeMahieu played seven innings at third base, hitting 0 for 3 in his first game for the Yankees since a stint at the IL caused by an inflamed right second tie. He was in a 2-for-38 slide through September 4 before going on the IL.
Cedric Mullins stole two bases and tied teammate Jorge Mateo for the AL lead with 34.
Gold Glove CF Harrison Bader sprinted to make a diving backhand catch against Mullins on the left center caution lane in front of the 399 foot board for the fifth inning final.
HECTOR LÓPEZ REMEMBERED
Hector López, a member of the Yankees’ 1961 and ’62 World Series champions, has died at age 93, MLB.com reported, citing his son, Darrol. The Yankees held a minute of silence before the game. López hit .269 with 136 home runs and 591 RBI’s during 12 seasons for the Kansas City Athletics (1955-59) and Yankees (1959-66). He became the first black manager at Triple-A in 1969 with the Buffalo Bisons, the top Washington Senators team.
Yankees: INF-OF Matt Carpenter, sidelined since he broke his left foot on Aug. 8, was taking batting training and could be activated for next week’s series in Texas, though the Yankees tend to have him report to a camp in Somerset, New Jersey , where he could get more at bats ahead of the Division Series… LHP Wandy Peralta, who has been sidelined since September 18 due to a tight back, threw a bullpen and will pitch one more Sunday before the Yankees decide whether to give him want to activate. … RHP Frankie Montas, out since September 16 with a right shoulder injury, likely to start throwing on Saturday … VAN Andrew Benintendi (broken wrist) is expected to swing on Saturday, but not against pitchers. … RHP Michael King said that Dr. David Altchek, Mets medical director, had determined that his UCL was intact. King broke his right elbow while pitching against Baltimore on July 22 and expects to be cleared for a normal outdoor season.
LHP Nestor Cortes (11-4, 2.56) is scheduled to start Saturday against Baltimore’s RHP Austin Voth (5-3, 4.19), with rain in the forecast.
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