NEW YORK (AP) — Aaron Judge was held without a homer for the third straight game, keeping him at 60 for the season and one shy of Roger Maris’ American League record, and the New York Yankees beat the Boston Red Sox 5-4 Friday night.
Jose Trevino singled home the tiebreaking 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’ children in the ballpark again, Judge went 1 for 4 with a sharp single. He struck out twice and lofted a high fly to left field that excited the sellout crowd of 47,346 for a second or two.
The slugger has two games left to match Maris on New York’s current homestand — Saturday afternoon and Sunday night versus the rival Red Sox. After that, the Yankees head to Toronto and have just three home games remaining, Sept. 30 to Oct. 2 against Baltimore.
Since connecting for No. 60 on Tuesday night against Pittsburgh, the closest Judge has come to equaling Maris’ 1961 mark was a 404-foot drive caught just in front of the center field fence Thursday night.
One night after the Yankees wrapped up their sixth consecutive playoff berth, ace Gerrit Cole and manager Aaron Boone were ejected in a sixth-inning spat with plate umpire Brian Knight.
Pinch-hitter Harrison Bader drew a two-out walk in the eighth and was credited with a stolen base when a wild pickoff attempt by Matt Strahm (3-4) allowed him to reach third.
Trevino singled to center 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 it for Boston with a three-run homer in the sixth inning. Tommy Pham also went deep against Cole, who has served up 31 long balls this season — most in the American League.
Verdugo sent a 100 mph fastball into the Yankees’ bullpen in right-center, one pitch after Cole thought he had an inning-ending strikeout. The right-hander dropped his head and bent over behind the mound as Verdugo took a slow trot around the bases.
After the inning, Cole pointed angrily at Knight and was ejected for the first time in his career — although the five-time All-Star was probably done for the night anyway after 103 pitches.
Boone joined the argument and was tossed for the 24th time as a manager — and career-high seventh this season.
Batting in front of Judge, No. 9 hitter Aaron Hicks launched his 100th major league homer and added an RBI single. Gleyber Torres gave New York a 4-1 lead with a two-run double off starter Rich Hill in the fifth.
Judge laced a hard single in the seventh and has reached base safely in a season-high 22 consecutive games.
Red Sox: RHP Nathan Eovaldi (shoulder inflammation) allowed three runs over three innings in a rehab start for Triple-A Worcester, throwing 57 pitches. He has been sidelined since Aug. 19. Eovaldi and 2B Trevor Story (bruised left heel), who went on the 10-day injured list Thursday, retroactive to Monday, both hope to return before the season ends. … With a day game upcoming Saturday, All-Star SS Xander Bogaerts was rested. Bogaerts began the night batting .314, second in the AL to Judge (.316), and could be the biggest obstacle between the Yankees slugger and a Triple Crown. … INF Christian Arroyo rejoined the team after a bout with the flu and Boston was hoping he could be available off the bench.
Yankees: 1B Anthony Rizzo was out of the starting lineup along with Bader. Judge started in center field and moved to right in the ninth when Bader remained in the game. … INF DJ LeMahieu (toe inflammation) has been taking batting practice and it’s possible he could come 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 only 2 2/3 innings since Sept. 7.
Judge is 5 for 11 (.455) in his career against Pivetta with two home runs — 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 over three starts at Yankee Stadium. He’s given up eight homers over 18 2/3 innings in four starts vs. New York this year.
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