The Yankees ended the home portion of their season on a down note as Aaron Judge was held without a home run and the Bombers fell to the Baltimore Orioles, 3-1.
Judge was held at 61 home runs yet again after tying Roger Maris’ 1961 record on Wednesday while the Yankees were in Toronto. Judge’s next home run will set a new franchise and American League record for single-season homers and the chase had drawn large crowds to the Bronx in anticipation of the moment.
The Yankees announced a paid attendance of 44,332, but it looked significantly less during the overcast day that saw periods of rain roll through the area. However, Judge said that he never felt any pressure to hit the milestone home run in front of the crowd in the Bronx.
“It would have been nice to hit it at home and do something special like that for the home fans,” Judge said. “But at the end of the day, I got a job to do. At bats, getting ready for the postseason. It didn’t happen but the season is not over yet.”
The Yankees slugger finished the day striking out three times and walking once.
It was an ugly third of an inning from reliever Aroldis Chapman that ended up costing the Yankees on Sunday. Chapman had replaced Lucas Luetge to start the seventh after Luetge had gotten the Yankees out of jams in the fifth and sixth innings to keep it a one-run game.
Chapman quickly got into trouble giving up a double to Cedric Mullins and walking Adley Rutschman and Anthony Santander to load the bases. After getting one out, the reliever walked Gunner Henderson on a 3-2 pitch that didn’t even reach the plate and put the Orioles up 2-1.
Right-hander Ron Marinaccio came in and allowed Austin Hayes to drive in a run on a sac fly to put Baltimore up by two.
It was the latest substandard effort for a reliever who was once one of the Yankees’ most dominant. However, this season has been marred by injury and mechanical issues.
Things didn’t get much better for the bullpen when Marinaccio left the game with a team trainer in the eighth after getting the first batter to fly out. It was later revealed that he was taken out due to soreness in his right shin.
It had been an issue during the course of the season and it was something that the team had gotten an MRI on in the past. The Yankees skipper made it sound like they will do further testing on it on Monday, but didn’t seem overly concerned.
“Today it was just a little bit more fired up,” Marinaccio said after the game. “I don’t know if it was bouncing back from the last outing. Just didn’t bounce back as well, but just a little hotter today.”
He added: “Think we’re just going to retest that and hopefully nothing comes back. I’m pretty confident it will be similar (to before), maybe a day and I’ll be back.”
The loss meant that the Yankees finished the season 57-24 at Yankee Stadium and head to Texas for the final four games of the year. New York had entered Sunday’s game with the best home record in the American League and the second best record in a home ballpark in all of baseball.
They tied a franchise high 57 wins at the new Yankee Stadium, which was reached in 2009 and 2019. The last time the Yankees had finished a season with more than 57 wins at either the old or new stadium was back in 1998 when they went 62-18 in the Bronx.
In his first major league start since June 26 for the Milwaukee Brewers, Chi Chi Gonzalez threw 4.2 innings against the Orioles giving up one run on four hits in a spot start on Sunday. He struck out three but also walked three batters during his longest outing of the season.
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Things got off to a rocky start after he struck out the game’s first batter, but allowed the next two to reach base. Rutschman singled and Santander walked to set up an RBI double for Ryan Mountcastle, which he drove to left field allowing Rutschman to score from second and put Baltimore ahead 1-0.
The Yankees finally put up their first run of the game in the fifth after Aaron Hicks and Judge both walked to start the inning. New York tied the game when Kyle Bradish threw a wild pitch allowing runners on first and second to advance and then a throwing error by the catcher allowed Hicks to score from the third.