NEW YORK (AP) — Aaron Judge went homerless for the fourth straight game and remained one shy of Roger Maris’ American League record of 61 as the New York Yankees beat the Boston Red Sox 7-5 on Saturday to close in on their first AL East title since 2019.
Judge was 0 for 3 with two strikeouts and a walk. Since hitting No. 60 to spark a ninth-inning comeback on Tuesday night, Judge is 3 for 13 with two doubles, five walks and six strikeouts.
He made a rare showing of anger on the field in the seventh when first base umpire Chris Conroy ruled he had not checked his swing and had struck out. Judge gestured at the umpire and then waved in disgust while walking back to the dugout.
Anthony Rizzo followed with a two-run homer off John Schreiber (3-4) that broke a 5-5 tie. Rizzo tied his career high, reaching 32 for the fourth time.
The Yankees (93-58) have won six straight and 10 of 12, surpassing last year’s wins total and opening an 8 1/2-game division lead. They have 11 games remaining, finishing a four-game series Sunday and then heading to Toronto for three games.
Judge also took a called third strike in the first from Nick Pivetta, flied to medium center in the third and walked in the fifth. He was on deck when Jose Trevino ended the eighth with a groundout.
Xander Bogaerts went 2 for 4 and took over the AL batting lead with a .315 average to Judge’s .314. Judge leads the major leagues with 128 RBIs and is in contention for the first Triple Crown since Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera in 2012.
Oswaldo Cabrera hit a two-run homer in the fourth against Pivetta, the rookie’s fourth since his Aug. 17 debut, and Gleyber Torres hit his 24th homer of the season.
Triston Casas and Reese McGuire homered for Boston in the second against Domingo Germán, who allowed three runs and three hits in five innings.
New York reliever Zack Britton, recovered from Tommy John surgery, entered in the sixth with a 5-3 lead in his first big league appearance since Aug. 19 last year. He walked three of five batters with a hit and a strikeout, leaving after a four-pitch, bases-loaded walk to Casas. Alex Verdugo tied it at 5 with an RBI single in the seventh against Lucas Luetge (4-4).
Clarke Schmidt stranded two runners in the eighth, and Scott Effross got three outs for his third save, his second with the Yankees. Sidelined by a strained right shoulder since Aug. 20, Effross allowed a single to Rafael Devers and hit Bogaerts with a pitch to put two on with no outs, then stranded the bases loaded when Bobby Dalbec grounded into a forceout.
Boston (72-79) is on a four-game skid and likely headed to its second losing record in three years.
Yankees center fielder Harrison Bader sprinted to make a diving catch on Abraham Almonte in short center for the second out of the eighth with two on.
Batters were 0 for 22 in at-bats that ended with Luetge’s curveball this season before Dalbec singled in the eighth.
IN THE SEATS
The sellout crowd of 47,611 raised the season total to at Yankee Stadium to 2.95 million, more than 1 million above last year, when there was a limited capacity until mid-June because of COVID-19 restrictions. New York is on track to top 3 million for the first time since 2019 and has 14 sellouts, two more than three years ago.
Red Sox: RHP Nathan Eovaldi (shoulder inflammation) will be evaluated Monday after making a three-inning rehab start for Triple-A Worcester on Friday.
LHP Nestor Cortes (10-4, 2.67 ERA) starts Sunday night’s series finale for the Yankees and RHP Brayan Bello (2-6, 4.75 ERA) for the Red Sox. The teams meet for the 19th time this year, six more than under the 2023 balanced schedule.
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Ronald Blum, The Associated Press