Aaron Judge narrowly missed his 61st home run, hitting a 404-foot shot off the center-field wall in the ninth inning, but the New York Yankees beat the New York Red Sox 5-4 on Thursday. Boston thanks to Josh Donaldson’s RBI single in the 10th inning to secure its playoff berth for the sixth straight season. Judge walked three and struck out once before reaching the batter’s box with the score tied 4-4 in the ninth. The 43,123 fans stood on every pitch and, on a 2-2 count, Judge tangled with a Matt Barnes fastball to send it all over center field.
The ball came off the bat at 113 mph, and fans hung on as Judge jogged toward first. But Puerto Rican Kiké Hernández extinguished his hopes by keeping the ball very close to the 408-foot sign. “I hit the ball a little bit low,” Judge said. “It was pretty windy tonight, so I was hoping it might just keep blowing all the time when I hit. But he stayed just barely close.” Thus, Judge follows a home run off the American League record, set by the Yankees’ Roger Maris in 1961.
“Tonight was a bit cool. Maybe it wasn’t meant to happen today. Maybe it will be on another night,” Donaldson said. “I thought that ball was gone.” Judge also threw out a runner at second base to help Boston hang on to a scoreless ninth inning.
Tommy Pham hit a dribble shot off the right-field fence off Clay Holmes (7-4), but Judge swung his arm from the warning strip to hit shortstop Isiah Kiner-Falefa, who put out Pham. . In the 10th inning, with designated runner Marwin Gonzalez at second, Kaleb Ort (0-2) intentionally walked Gleyber Torres before Donaldson singled to left field to end the game.
For the Yankees, the Venezuelans Gleyber Torres 3-0; González without an official shift and one scored; Oswaldo Cabrera 3-0 with a run scored. For the Red Sox, Puerto Rican Hernández 3-1 with a run scored. Mexican Alex Verdugo 5-1. The Dominicans Rafael Devers 4-0; Abraham Almonte 1-0.