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Judge falls just short of 61, Yanks clinch playoff berth

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NEW YORK (AP) — Aaron Judge rotated a fastball within the ninth inning, and the already-standing crowd of 43,123 at Yankee Stadium erupted in noise, questioning, hoping he had hit a record-tying 61st residence run and clinched a playoff berth with one mighty swing.

Seconds later, groans arose in unison. Kiké Hernández made the catch a step in front of the fence, 404 ft from the plate.

Judge remained one shy of the American League document set by New York slugger Roger Maris in 1961. But the Yankees did accomplish purpose No. 1: Josh Donaldson’s Tenth-innng RBI single gave them a 5-4 win over the Boston Red Sox and clinched their sixth straight playoff berth and twenty fourth in 28 years.

“A great accomplishment. A lot of hard work over the course of the season to get to this point,” mentioned Judge, who additionally threw out a runner at second base to assist maintain off Boston within the ninth. “But I think you could ask anybody in this room: The job’s not finished. We have an ultimate goal of going out there and winning our division, and setting ourselves up for the postseason. And this is step No. 1, step No. 1 of many steps to come.”

Coming inside a number of ft of his fourth walk-off residence run this 12 months, Judge went with no lengthy ball for the second straight sport since hitting No. 60 to match Babe Ruth’s 1927 season.

Judge has 13 video games remaining. He walked 3 times and struck out as soon as earlier than his drive off Matt Barnes just to the best of straightaway heart.

“I thought it would have been pretty showy to drop it at Monument Park out there,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said.

Judge didn’t think it was gone, not on the first night of autumn with the game-time temperature a crisp 68 degrees.

“I just got underneath it a little bit,” he said. “A pretty windy night, so I was hoping maybe it was blowing out at the time I was hitting, but just missed it.”

The ball left the bat at 113 mph, the hardest-hit by anyone in the game.

“I go out there and get caught up in the history of what he could potentially be doing and I start tiptoeing around the at-bat, I’m probably going to hang something,” Barnes said.

Before each of the 26 pitches to Judge, Yankee Stadium’s usual cacophony was replaced by a silence more familiar at a church or golf course.

“Literally, you could hear a pin drop,” Donaldson said. “It’s kind of spooky, really.”

Jameson Taillon, who pitched six scoreless innings, said Judge’s pursuit altered teammates’ routines.

“There’s guys that are inside and stuff watching the game,” Taillon mentioned, “and at any time when he comes up, everybody runs outdoors to look at the at-bat as a result of nobody desires to overlook it.”

Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred was available. Judge’s fame has prolonged past the game — he seems on the cover of the Oct. 3 issue of The New Yorker.

After an 0-for-2 evening, Judge remained on monitor for an AL Triple Crown with a .316 batting common and 128 RBIs. Boston’s Xander Bogaerts is second in batting at .314 after going hitless in 5 at-bats.

With the rating 4-all, Tommy Pham led off the ninth with a one-hopper off the right-field wall in opposition to Clay Holmes (7-4). Judge played the carom and from the warning track threw a 92.3 mph strike to shortstop Isiah Kiner-Falefa for the tag. It was Judge’s sixth assist of the season.

Then within the Tenth, with pinch-runner Marwin Gonzalez at second as the automated runner, Kaleb Ort (0-2) deliberately walked Gleyber Torres earlier than Donaldson grounded a single just past diving third baseman Rafael Devers and into left.

New York grounded into 4 double performs however had constructed a 3-0 lead on Kyle Higashioka’s sacrifice fly and Giancarlo Stanton’s 28th homer, a two-run shot in opposition to Michael Wacha.

Triston Casas hit a solo homer and pinch-hitter Reese McGuire delivered a three-run drive for Boston in a four-run seventh off Clarke Schmidt. Harrison Bader had a tying sacrifice fly in the eighth after Stanton’s leadoff infield single and a stolen base by Tim Locastro — he was referred to as out initially however a video review reversed the decision.

Donaldson gave a speech to teammates after the Yankees secured their document 58th postseason look with their main league-high sixteenth walk-off win of the season, one shy of the group commonplace set in 1947.

“Welcome back to the playoffs,” he instructed them.

New York has a 7 1/2-game lead within the AL East over second-place Toronto, on monitor for a first-round bye. Boone grew to become the primary supervisor to achieve the postseason in every of his first 5 seasons, in response to the Elias Sports Bureau.

“We’re in the dance and we got a chance now,” he mentioned.

CHOPPY CHAPMAN

Aroldis Chapman had one other shaky outing for the Yankees in reduction, strolling two batters with one out within the eighth — the second on 4 pitchers.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Red Sox: 2B Trevor Story (bruised left heel) went again on the 10-day injured listing, retroactive to Monday, and 1B/3B Bobby Dalbec was recalled from Triple-A Worcester.

Yankees: LHP Zack Britton (Tommy John surgical procedure) was activated from the 60-day IL and LHP Wandy Peralta (again) was placed on the 15-day IL, retroactive to Monday.

UP NEXT

New York ace Gerrit Cole (12-7, 3.41) begins in opposition to Boston LHP Rich Hill (7-7, 4.70) on Friday evening.

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More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports


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