Aaron Judge lifts Yankees to 1-0 win over Royals with walk-off home run

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New York Yankees’ Aaron Judge watches his game-ending home run during the ninth inning of the team’s baseball game against the Kansas City Royals on Thursday, July 28, 2022, in New York. The Yankees won 1-0.
(AP Photo/Frank Franklin II

Jameson Taillon’s reaction to Aaron Judge’s walk-off home run on Thursday night to lead the Yankees to a 1-0 win over the Royals just about summed up what everyone has come to expect. 

The Yankees starter had been in the trainer’s room watching the game on a delay. He headed over to the weight room where the TV was synched up with the action on the field and to the surprise of no one, Judge had just belted the winning home run on a night when New York’s bats were coming up short. 

“We saw the lights flashing and we’re just like ‘this dude did it again.’ It’s pretty unbelievable, but we’ve come to expect it,” Taillon said. “Every big moment he’s up there and he comes through.” 

The solo blast was Judge’s MLB-leading 39th home run and marked the Yankees’ 12th walk-off win of the year as they snapped a two-game skid. Judge has now hit three career walk-off home runs, all of which came this year. 

The Yankees’ slugger got a hold of the first pitch and sent it 431 feet into the stands as Yankee Stadium erupted. 

The New York victory came at a time that they needed one after dropping two straight to the New York Mets this past week and a pair of games to the Houston Astros last week to start the second half of the season. The Yankees have found themselves in a bit of a rough patch with wins becoming harder to come by as of late.

“It’s always good. Today was tough, especially coming off two losses at Citi Field and then coming in here,” Judge said. “This team has a lot of heart and they really battled to the end.” 

The Yankees’ offense remained stagnant for most of the game even after the club acquired Andrew Benintendi late Wednesday night. Even Judge had been 0-for-3 going into the game-winning at-bat. 

Benintendi didn’t register a hit in four at-bats and struck out once. The Yankees’ only other hit of the night came in the fourth inning when Gleyber Torres hit a sharp line drive to right field. 

It took a little bit of time, but Taillon found his rhythm on Thursday night throwing six innings of scoreless ball. He finished the night with eight strikeouts and allowed four hits, while working out a pair of jams early on. 

After walking MJ Melendez to start the game, Vinnie Pasquantino reached base on a fielding error to put two runners on with only one out. Taillon managed to get Hunter Dozier to strike out swinging and Ryan O’Hearn to fly out to left field to end the inning. 

Taillon got out of another tough spot in the second after Nick Pratto sent a screaming shot off the center field wall for a one-out triple. He got Maikel Garcia to fly out and Kyle Isbel to strike out looking for the final out to keep the game scoreless.

Melendez reached base again with a double to start the third, but Taillon got the next batter to strike out and the following two to ground out. 

“I thought we were working both sides (of the plate) a little bit better,” Taillon said about his pitching mechanics. “I thought the fastball had a better profile tonight. I thought the misses were a lot more competitive tonight. I wasn’t having big sprays above the zone. I wasn’t missing my slider arm slide at all. All my misses were tight-defined misses to good areas. I thought that was the most encouraging thing from tonight.” 

Ron Marinaccio came into the game in the seventh and threw two innings while striking out two. Clay Holmes came out of the bullpen in the ninth and picked up the win. 

For more coverage of the New York Yankees, head to amNY.com.

Benintendi’s first game as a Yankee was a dramatic one that the outfielder enjoyed, despite the struggles at the plate. The newest member of the organization joked that he was looking forward to getting some rest after a whirlwind 24 hours.

He was greeted to loud cheers when his name was announced during the lineups and he experienced his first roll call as a Yankee. 

“That was sick,” Benintendi said. “I’m sure I’ll have to come up with a sign or something like that to give (the fans), but the first one to get it out of the way it was cool. I felt the love from everybody.” 

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