Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Judge Launches No. 52 in Yanks' Win

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Judge Launches No. 52 in Yanks' Win

Article excerpt

NEW YORK - The clinching party was still on hold at Fenway Park when Aaron Judge launched No. 52 this year - a tremendous solo home run that reached the back of Yankee Stadium's left field bleachers.

With his club still in play for a division title on the second-to-last day of the season, Saturday afternoon, Yankees manager Joe Girardi's attention was split between the on-field action and the Astros-Red Sox score.

"About as close as I've ever watched," Girardi said of the out-of-town scoreboard.

Shortly after Aroldis Chapman closed out a 2-1 win against the Blue Jays, Girardi and the Yankees finally ran out of hope for that longshot AL East title.

Boston's 6-3 victory sewed up the division in Game 161, leaving the Yankees to host the Minnesota Twins in a one-game, AL wild card on Tuesday night. The winner advances to the Division Series against the Cleveland Indians.

"Just play our game, keep winning every pitch," Judge said after the Yanks learned their October itinerary.

It would've taken wins by the Yanks (91-70) on Saturday and Sunday and losses by the Red Sox to force a one-game playoff at Yankee Stadium for the division crown.

But due to that scenario, Girardi replaced scheduled starter Jaime Garcia with veteran lefty CC Sabathia, who dialed in 5.2 scoreless innings - completing a splendid regular season, possibly his last in pinstripes.

"(This is) a great clubhouse, one of the best I've been in in a long time," Sabathia said in assessing the Yanks' capability of moving deep into October. And not surprisingly, Judge is still his MVP candidate.

"That's my guy, I think he deserves it," Sabathia said.

"A couple of days ago, we wouldn't be in this position (to potentially claim the division) without him."

Judge sent a charge into the crowd of 39,457, blasting a Marcus Stroman 2-and-0 fastball through the wind, traveling an estimated 484 feet. …

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