NEW YORK (AP) — Aaron Judge was held without a home run for the third straight game, keeping him 60 for the season and one shy of American League record Roger Maris, and the New York Yankees have beat the Boston Red Sox 5-4 Friday night.
Jose Trevino scored at home the tiebreaker run with two outs in the eighth inning, and the first-place Yankees reduced their magic number to five for clinching the AL East title.
With four of Maris’ kids back in the ballpark, Judge went 1 of 4 with a sharp single. He hit twice and threw a high volley to left field that excited the sold-out crowd of 47,346 for a second or two.
The slugger has two games to go to match Maris on the current New York court – Saturday afternoon and Sunday night against the rival Red Sox. After that, the Yankees will travel to Toronto and have only three home games left, September 30-October 2 against Baltimore.
Since connecting for No. 60 on Tuesday night against Pittsburgh, the closest judge to tying Maris’ mark in 1961 was a 404-foot drive taken just outside the center field fence Thursday night.
A night after the Yankees finished their sixth straight playoff berth, ace Gerrit Cole and manager Aaron Boone were ejected in a sixth-inning spat with plate umpire Brian Knight.
Pinched hitter Harrison Bader walked two out in the eighth and was credited with a stolen base when a wild putout attempt by Matt Strahm (3-4) lifted him into third place.
Trevino chose to cross on the next pitch.
Jonathan Loáisiga (2-3) pitched two scoreless innings for the win, working around a pair of one-out singles in the ninth.
Alex Verdugo tied the game for Boston with a three-run homer in the sixth inning. Tommy Pham also went deep against Cole, who served 31 long balls this season – most in the American League.
Verdugo sent a 100 mph fastball into the Yankees bullpen at right center, a pitch after Cole thought he had an innings-ending strikeout. The right-hander lowered his head and leaned behind the mound as Verdugo took a slow trot around the bases.
After the inning, Cole angrily pointed the finger at Knight and was ejected for the first time in his career – although the five-time All-Star was likely done for the night anyway after 103 pitches.
Boone joined the argument and was cast for the 24th time as manager – and seventh in a career this season.
Hitting in front of the judge, No. 9 hitter Aaron Hicks threw his 100th major league homer and added an RBI single. Gleyber Torres gave New York a 4-1 lead with a two-run double over starter Rich Hill in the fifth.
Judge hit a tough single in the seventh and reached base safely in a season-high 22 consecutive games.
Red Sox: RHP Nathan Eovaldi (shoulder inflammation) allowed three runs in three innings on a rehab start for Triple-A Worcester, throwing 57 pitches. He has been absent since August 19. Eovaldi and 2B Trevor Story (bruised left heel), who were on the 10-day injured list on Thursday, retroactive to Monday, are both hoping to return before the end of the season. … With a day game coming up on Saturday, All-Star SS Xander Bogaerts was rested. Bogaerts started the night batting .314, second in the AL to Judge (.316), and might be the biggest hurdle between the Yankees slugger and a Triple Crown. … INF Christian Arroyo joined the team after a bout with the flu and Boston was hoping he might be available on the bench.
Yankees: 1B Anthony Rizzo was out of the starting lineup with Bader. Judge started in center field and moved to the right in the ninth when Bader stayed in the game. … INF DJ LeMahieu (swollen toes) has been batting practice and may be off the injured list next week in Toronto.
Red Sox RHP Nick Pivetta (10-11, 4.35 ERA) starts Saturday against Domingo Germán (2-3, 3.12), who has pitched just 2 2/3 innings since Sept. 7.
Judge is 5-of-11 (.455) in his career against Pivetta with two homers — both this season (No. 32 on July 16 and No. 56 on Sept. 13).
Pivetta has an 8.78 ERA in seven career outings against New York and is 0-3 with an 11.57 ERA in three starts at Yankee Stadium. He’s allowed eight home runs in 18 2/3 innings in four starts against New York this year.
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