After hitting 60 homers in a potential loss, New York Yankees shortstop Aaron Judge admitted that the curtain call looked strange.
“I really didn’t want to do it, especially since we’re going to lose, it’s a solo shot,” Judge said.
About 10 minutes later, those concerns disappeared when New York’s Giancarlo Stanton hit a grand slam.
Coming off one of their most dramatic wins of the season, the Yankees hope to see Judge hit Roger Morris with his 61st homer and move closer to securing a playoff spot on Wednesday night when they host the Pittsburgh Pirates again. .
Yankees (89-58) are 10-4 in their last 14 games. Judge is batting .471 (32-for-68) with 11 homers and 19 RBI in a 19-game on-base streak, raising his average from .293 to .316, one point ahead of Boston’s Xander Bogarts for the AL lead.
“I think us teammates are enjoying the season that Aaron is having and the way he’s ending up,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “But first of all, we’re trying to win a division championship right now and make a finals like that at No. 60, yeah, I think that makes it a lot more meaningful.”
Judge matched Babe Ruth’s 1927 mark to spark a five-run rally and a 9-8 victory. Stanton, who has struggled since returning from the injured list, won his second Grand Slam in New York.
“I’m trying to enjoy it all and soak it all in,” Judge said. “But I know I still have a job to do on the field every day. I just have to keep my head down, keep preparing and stay mentally focused.”
Pittsburgh (55-93) is now on a five-game losing streak despite getting 10 hits in Tuesday’s opener. Brian Reynolds had a homer and a single as part of a four-hit night and is hitting .340 (18-for-53) over his last 13 games.
The Pirates forced two outs, a strikeout and a tie before Will Crowe was singled out by the umpire.
“This is one of the best lineups in baseball,” Pirates manager Derek Shelton said. “We left the ball up the middle of the plate and because of that, we ended up paying for it.”
New York’s Luis Severino (5-3, 3.45 ERA) will return Wednesday after a two-month stint on the disabled list with a right lat strain.
The right-hander is slated for his first start since July 13, when he allowed three homers in two innings against the Cincinnati Reds. The Yankees placed Severin on the 60-day disabled list last month in a move that frustrated him, and he pitched 10 1/3 innings in three rehab appearances.
Severina will face the Pirates for the second time in three starts. In New York’s 16-0 win at Pittsburgh on July 6, he allowed four hits in six innings while throwing 88 innings.
Roancie Contreras (5-4, 3.24 ERA), who was among the Yankees’ minor leaguers acquired from Jameson Taillon in January 2021, is set to make his 16th start for Pittsburgh.
The 22-year-old right-hander is 2-2 with a 2.43 ERA in six starts since being recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis on Aug. 17. On Sept. 14, Contreras took a no-decision when he allowed one run and three hits in four innings of Pittsburgh’s 10-4 win at Cincinnati.
Contreras will face the Yankees — and Judge — for the first time in his two-year major league career.