NEW YORK – Back in the Bronx, Aaron Judge had another sellout crowd fill Yankee Stadium hoping to see No. 62. The wait will extend into a rain-threatened weekend.
Judge went 1 for 2 with a pair of walks as the Baltimore Orioles beat the New York Yankees 2-1 on Friday night.
“It was a pretty electric atmosphere,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “I actually found myself kind of nervous for his first at-bat, maybe just being all focused on it.”
One game after tying the American League home run record of 61 that Yankees star Roger Maris set in 1961, Judge struck out in the first inning, singled in the third and walked in the sixth against Jordan Lyles (12-11), then was intentionally walked in the eighth by rookie Félix Bautista.
“It was an amazing atmosphere. Probably not an empty seat out there,” Lyles said. “Everyone’s standing up. Everyone’s getting ready for something possible, something great."
Fans among the 47,583 on a chilly autumn night buzzed for each for the 21 pitches to Judge. His next chance comes Saturday, the 61st anniversary of Maris' No. 61.
“After every swing he took, you could hear audible gasps from the whole entire crowd,” Orioles rookie catcher Adley Rutschman said. “Every time he swung and just a big buildup, so that was pretty cool.”
Judge has six games left: two this weekend against the Orioles, then four at Texas that end the regular season.
Judge also is bidding for the first Triple Crown since Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera in 2012. Judge leads the AL with 130 RBIs and trails Minnesota’s Luis Arraez in the batting race by .3147 to .3141.
The night was filled with bad news for the Yankees, already assured the AL East title and getting ready for their Division Series opener on Oct. 11.
Reliever Zack Britton, just back last week from Tommy John surgery, threw a tiebreaking wild pitch in the sixth inning and immediately left with left arm fatigue.
All-Star closer Clay Holmes had a cortisone injection Thursday and likely won't pitch in a game until the playoffs.
“There’s no use crying about what you do or don’t have,” Boone said. “You got to make the most of what you do. And the reality is we still have a lot of really talented guys down 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 Aug. 25 from a month out with left Achilles tendinitis.
“I’m hoping it’s still just a timing thing that he’s working through,” Boone said. “He's struggling to find it right now.”
Baltimore (81-76) was eliminated from playoff contention about two hours after the final out when Seattle beat Oakland. The Orioles assured they will stop a streak of five 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 home run since his debut on Aug. 17.
After going 52-110, the Orioles could become the first team since at least 1900 with a winning record one year after losing 110 or more.
“It just means that we exceeded expectations and that our guys fought all year long," manager Brandon Hyde said. "There’s a lot of appreciation for what these guys have done this year around the league and it’s well deserved.”
Lyles matched his career high for wins in 2019, allowing four hits in seven-plus 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 and then threw a pitch to pinch-hitter Jesús Aguilar that went to the backstop, and he failed to cover the plate. Rookie DL Hall pitched a perfect ninth with two strikeouts for his first save since 2019 at Class A.
DJ LeMahieu played seven innings at third base and went 0 for 3 in his first game for the Yankees since a stint on the IL caused by an inflamed right second tie. He was in a 2-for-38 slide through Sept. 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 warning track in front of the 399-foot sign for the final out of the fifth inning.
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 moment of silence before the game. López hit .269 with 136 homers and 591 RBIs over 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 Washington Senators’ top farm team.
Yankees: INF-OF Matt Carpenter, sidelined since breaking his left toot on Aug. 8, took batting practice and could be activated for next week’s series at Texas, though the Yankees are leaning toward having him report to a camp at Somerset, New Jersey, where he could get more at-bats ahead of the Division Series ... LHP Wandy Peralta, sidelined since Sept. 18 with back tightness, threw a bullpen and will throw another Sunday before the Yankees decide whether to activate him. ... RHP Frankie Montas, out since Sept. 16 with right shoulder inflammation, likely will start throwing Saturday ... OF Andrew Benintendi (broken wrist) is scheduled to take swings Saturday but not against pitchers. ... RHP Michael King said Mets medical director Dr. David Altchek determined his UCL was intact. King broke his right elbow while pitching against Baltimore on July 22 and anticipates being cleared for a normal offseason.
LHP Nestor Cortes (11-4, 2.56) is scheduled to start against Baltimore’s RHP Austin Voth (5-3, 4.19) on Saturday, with rain in the forecast.
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