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‘It was big time’: Judge slam lifts Yanks in nightcap

‘It was big time’: Judge slam lifts Yanks in nightcap

BOSTON — Aaron Judge knew that he’d seen a few meaty offerings over these past several soggy contests at Fenway Park, with little to show for them. As he connected for his sixth career grand slam on Thursday evening, the Yankees captain finished this series on a strong note.

Judge’s blast highlighted a five-run second inning, and DJ LeMahieu delivered a go-ahead double in the eighth as the Yankees outslugged the Red Sox, 8-5, securing a split of a separate-admission doubleheader.

“It was big time,” Judge said. “I had a couple of opportunities the past couple of days to get some runs in and hadn’t come through. I just got in a good count; that’s what the name of the game is. Get in a good count, get some good pitches to hit and hopefully you don’t miss them.”

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Judge’s 32nd home run helped snap a 2-for-25 funk, coming off his bat with an exit velocity of 110 mph while traveling a Statcast-calculated 418 feet into the center-field grandstand.

“I thanked him after; I felt like we got one back,” said Yankees right-hander Clarke Schmidt. “There was a lot of energy in the dugout throughout the game. We felt like we were going to score a lot of runs today, and that’s what happened.”

Added LeMahieu: “Classic Judgie swing right there. He got a fastball he could handle and hammered it. I just thought our at-bats overall were really good tonight.”

The Yankees fell, 5-0, in the opener of Thursday’s twin bill. But they recovered in the nightcap to grab three of four games in a series that featured two rainouts, a pair of day-night doubleheaders and a shakeup in Boston’s front office with the dismissal of general manager Chaim Bloom.

“The day was made for a Yankee,” Judge said. “They’re long days, but this team is built for it. You’ve got to love it. You’re getting a chance to put the pinstripes on every single day and go out here to play in Red Sox-Yankees at Fenway. You can’t beat it.”  

LeMahieu put the Yanks on the board with a run-scoring single in the second inning. He came through again in the eighth, driving in the go-ahead run against Mauricio Llovera after Boston tied the game on a seventh-inning groundout by Triston Casas.

“Just got some hits when we needed it. We put pressure on them all night,” LeMahieu said.

Schmidt started for New York and permitted four runs (three earned) on seven hits and three walks over 5 1/3 innings, including Rafael Devers’ solo homer in the third inning. 

“I just made the big pitch when I needed to make the big pitch,” Schmidt said. “I know I had more walks than I typically do, but I felt like they were pretty competitive. It’s a really good lineup, so to get those big outs and put them on the ground a lot, I was happy.”

“We didn’t play the cleanest behind him,” manager Aaron Boone said, “but I thought he was good.”

Oswald Peraza provided some insurance in the ninth with his first homer of the year, sprinting around the bases and pumping his fist after clearing the Green Monster for a two-run shot.

“It was good to see him really get into a ball,” Boone said. “He’s been getting some results lately, but tonight was a lot better. He’s capable of driving the ball, hitting the ball with authority on a line.”

Said Peraza, through an interpreter: “This game, at this level, it’s about adjustments. I’m feeling more comfortable, making more consistent adjustments and having better at-bats overall.”

The Yankees (74-73) remain mathematically alive in the postseason chase, 7 1/2 games out for the third American League Wild Card but with only 15 left to play, while aiming to avoid the franchise’s first losing season since 1992.

“We’ve just got to keep stacking up wins and taking it one day at a time. That’s all we can do,” Judge said. “We can’t really look at anything else besides who we’re playing the next game, take care of business and then move on to the next one. Taking three out of four here was great, and we’ve got a big series coming up in Pittsburgh.”



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