Who Needs an Aaron Judge Home Run?
The Yankees again dramatically won on Friday-evening without Judge homering.
While Judge was again stuck on 60 home runs chasing number 61, the Yankees won their fifth straight, this 5-4 against the Red Sox at Stadium — and the last three wins have been won without a Judger home run.
“He’s coming out of the right swings,” manager Aaron Boone said of the slugger. “It’s coming.”
Harrison Bader unleashed the game-winning rally with two outs in the eighth inning, pinch-hitting for Oswaldo Cabrera and walking away.
With Jose Trevino at the plate, Bader left for second. Lefty reliever Matt Strahm threw to first base, but his throw was away from Triston Casas, as Bader swiped second and reached third base on the error.
Trevino then delivered another big hit, this a leading RBI single to the middle.
Jonathan Loaisiga threw a scoreless eighth inning before giving up some one-out singles in the ninth. However, he eliminated pinch-hitter Abraham Almonte and gave Reese McGuire a grounder to end it.
After the Blue Jays’ loss at Tampa Bay, the Yankees’ magic number to make the division dropped to four.
“We’re just trying to get wins,” said Aaron Hicks, who homered and had an RBI single. “Everything else will come naturally.”
Loaisiga’s two scoreless innings helped save Gerrit Cole, who was again hurt by home runs and gave up two – including an tying three-point shot by Alex Verdugo in the sixth.
After Cole struckout JD Martinez to end that inning, he barked at home plate umpire Brian Knight and was ejected, as was Boone, who came out to protect the furious Cole.
Meanwhile, another sold-out crowd in The Bronx continued to yearn for more, as Judge was 1-for-4 with two strikeouts.
“The casual person is coming tonight and [thinks he’ll] hit a homer,” said Boone. “He’s just missed two in the past two nights.”
Judge hasn’t homered since the ninth inning of Tuesday’s comeback win over the Pirates, but that didn’t stop the Yankees.
Cole’s home run troubles are more pressing, though.
After Tommy Pham’s solo homerun with two outs in the first, Cole crossed into sixth when he ran into problems on an one-out double by Kiké Hernandez and a walk to Rafael Devers.
He struckout Pham for the second out and thought he had caught Verdugo on a 1-2 pitch. But it was called a ball – although it looked low.
Verdugo then hammered a three-run, game-tying homer into the Yankees bullpen in center right.
Cole has allowed 10 home runs in his last six starts.
The Yankees’ offense got underway in the bottom of the third inning, when Hicks tied the game with an one-out solo homerun to the left. Hicks, in his first game at The Bronx since being drawn on September 9 after a few abuses, was booed on his way to the plate.
In his previous three games — all on the road — Hicks had gone 5-for-12 with a homer, double and five strikeouts.
Isiah Kiner-Falefa led off the fifth inning with a single and Marwin Gonzalez walked before Hicks singled to the left to drive in Kiner-Falefa.
Judge, who flied out to the left in the third, then slammed into Hill a second time, this time on a 73 mph curveball.
Giancarlo Stanton flied out to the right, but Torres doubled down the leftfield-line added two more runs to make it 4-1.
But Cole couldn’t hold onto the lead.
Verdugo’s home run was Cole’s 31st this season, keeping his career high.