The Yankees’ offensive woes in the Subway Series came with base traffic, as they went 0 for 15 with runners in scoring position.
On Thursday, they even struggled to get runners on base, let alone score position.
But all it took was one big swing from Aaron Judge to save the game.
The judge delivered a late-nineth-inning out, smashing a home run to left center to lift the Yankees to a 1-0 victory over the Royals in the Bronx.
“It never ceases to amaze the season he’s been preparing for,” manager Aaron Boone said. “To put him in the air where he did, not many people can hit him like that and ride him like he did. Huge. Huge to get us down on the homestand where it was a chore for us tonight. But we will take it.
Judge’s 39th homer of the year, coming from Royals right-hander Scott Barlow, was just the second hit of the game for the Yankees (67-33), who have lost two straight and five of their last seven. matches at night.
Royals right-hander Brady Singer had outshot the Yankees, striking out 10 of seven shutout innings. He only allowed three base runners and none of them passed second base.
But Judge hit his sixth home run in his last seven games to wipe out a night of frustration.
“Today was tough, especially after the two losses at Citi Field,” Judge said. “Then coming here and Singer stopped us the whole game, it didn’t feel too good. But this team has a lot of heart.
The 431-foot moonshot was Judge’s third career home run, all of which occurred this year amid his MVP-caliber season.
“We expect it,” said Jameson Taillon, who pitched six shutout innings. “It seems like every big moment, he’s up there and passing.”
The debut of Andrew Benintendi, acquired from the Royals (39-60) on Wednesday night, did not immediately trigger the Yankees roster. The left fielder went 0 for 4 from first place, though he was far from the only one unable to get to Springer.
“He was on,” Benintendi said. “He didn’t look like he missed too many shots in the middle of the plate. He was painting the corners and didn’t really give us much to hit.
The Yankees recorded their first hit of the night late in the fourth inning, when Gleyber Torres fielded a two-out single down the right side. Otherwise, Singer was untouchable, with the only other base runners coming on a step and hitting the batter.
After having his shortest start to the season – when he lasted just 2 ²/₃ innings against the Orioles and walked three, a season high – Taillon put together a rebounding effort Thursday. The right-hander worked early but scattered four hits and two walks while tying a season high with eight strikeouts.
Ron Marinaccio picked up Taillon to start round seven and threw two perfect frames. It was the rookie’s 15th consecutive scoreless appearance, a 19-inning streak. Opponents go 1-57 against him during this streak as he continues to earn Boone’s trust.
“I feel like his heart rate isn’t going over 60,” Judge said. “It’s crazy.”
But the biggest moment in a high-pressure situation came from Judge, who headed for home plate in the ninth inning thinking he had little to lose. He sat out of gear but then got a first pitch fastball to the middle of Barlow and didn’t miss.
“I was 0-for-3 with two punches,” Judge said. “I was like, ‘What worse could happen, I strike a third time? ”