Baltimore Orioles pitchers were cautious Friday night in New York as they faced Aaron Judge, who will have to wait to set his big home run record. It wasn’t just No. 99 who felt frustrated in the game as the visitors beat the Yankees 2-1.
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Judge’s every move is being watched in this final stretch of Major League Baseball’s regular season as he has the American League’s single-season long-ball record within reach. On Wednesday against the Toronto Blue Jays, he matched Roger Maris’ mark with a 61st homer.
The outfielder didn’t have a bad game, however, hitting a single in the third inning and going two walks. The judge and his teammates rubbed shoulders with Orioles starting pitcher Jordan Lyles, who was smoldering.
In seven innings on the mound, the 31-year-old gunman knocked out nine men. His only real mistake came in the fifth set when Oswaldo Cabrera homed. The thousands of fans at Yankee Stadium would have preferred a Judge souvenir, but it’s better than nothing.
It wasn’t enough even for the local favorites. Pitcher Zack Britton missed his shot completely in the sixth inning and Adleyrutschman was able to cross the plate to give the Orioles the game-winning run. Ryan Mountcastle had put Baltimore ahead in the first set with a paying single.
Luckily for Judge, he has six games left, including two more against the Orioles, to get his name back in the record books.
The fight goes on
In Atlanta, the Braves and New York Mets are fighting for dominance in the National League East, and with the home side beating their rivals 5-2, both teams are now on identical cards.
This series of three games, with the next two scheduled for the weekend, will be crucial for classification. Atlanta and New York are neck and neck with records of 98-57. If there is a draw after 162 games, the results of the duels between the two teams will decide the order. The Mets currently lead the Braves with nine wins and eight losses.
The latter took the lead in the second race and didn’t look back after that. Austin Riley, Matt Olson and Dansby Swanson all went solo slaps for Atlanta’s first three points. Eddie Rosario and Orlando Arcia scored the other two runs in the seventh inning.
The ball traveled fairly well at Truist Park as the Mets’ Tomas Nildo also homed late in the game.