Aaron Judge remains at 60 homers but keeps getting on base -- and the New York Yankees keep winning.
On Friday night, Judge will make his next attempt at tying Roger Maris' American League homer record and will try to get on base for a 22nd straight game as the Yankees host another game vs. the Boston Red Sox.
On Tuesday, Judge slugged his 60th homer to match Babe Ruth's 1927 mark. He sparked a five-run ninth that gave New York a 9-8 win over Pittsburgh. On Wednesday, he doubled twice in a 14-2 win over the Pirates.
On Thursday, Judge walked three times before Josh Donaldson singled in the 10th inning for a 5-4 victory over the Red Sox that clinched New York's sixth straight playoff berth.
"It's great," said Judge, who got an outfield assist by throwing out Tommy Pham at second base. "A great accomplishment, a lot of hard work over the course of the season to get to this point. But I think you can ask anybody in this room: The job's not finished."
The Yankees (91-58) are 12-4 in the past 16 games and Judge is hitting .459 (34-for-74) with 11 homers and 19 RBIs during his on-base streak, raising his average from .293 to an AL-best .316.
On Thursday, he nearly got home run No. 61. Judge hit a fly ball to the warning track in center in the ninth off Matt Barnes before the Yankees got their 16th walk-off win.
"Maybe it wasn't meant for tonight. Maybe it's another night," Donaldson said.
The Red Sox never showed any inclination to intentionally walk Judge, who hit his 56th and 57th homers on Sept. 13 in Boston.
"You saw how we pitched today," Red Sox manager Alex Cora said of the approach to Judge. "The game was on the line, and we pitched to him."
Boston (72-77) overturned a three-run deficit in the seventh inning on a solo homer by rookie Tristan Casas and a three-run homer by pinch hitter Reese McGuire.
The Red Sox were 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position and dropped to 6-10 in the season series with the Yankees. Xander Bogaerts went 0-for-5 to lower his average to .314.
"We've seen that game too many times this year," Cora said. "We come back, we load the bases, we don't cash in and then they come back. It's frustrating."
Rich Hill (7-7, 4.70 ERA), against whom Judge is 2-for-4 with no homers, will start for Boston on Friday. Hill is 4-2 with a 3.52 ERA in 14 career appearances (six starts) against the Yankees and has won his past four starts against them.
Hill is 1-2 with a 6.62 ERA in his past four starts overall. He was tagged for four runs on eight hits in 4 2/3 innings in a 9-0 loss to the Kansas City Royals on Saturday.
Gerrit Cole (12-7, 3.41 ERA) will start Friday for the Yankees. Bogaerts is 7-for-34 (.206) lifetime vs. Cole and is 4-for-21 (.190) against him since the right-hander joined the Yankees following the 2019 season.
Cole is 7-3 with a 4.28 ERA in 14 career starts against Boston and is 2-0 with a 5.48 ERA in four starts vs. the Red Sox this year. Cole last faced them Sept. 13 in Boston, where he allowed three homers and four runs in six innings of a no-decision before New York won it in the 10th inning.
--Field Level Media