NEW YORK — Slowed down by Sunday night’s rain, Aaron Judge sets out on his road record chase.
The judge stayed on 60 homers, a shy of Roger Maris’ American League mark, when the New York Yankees’ 2-0 win over the Boston Red Sox was halted after six innings due to heavy showers.
The Big Slugger went 1-2 with a double and was next due for the Yankees when play was halted. The game was abandoned after a 98-minute delay, causing Judge to be sent to Toronto still in pursuit of Maris.
But the four-time All-Star insisted he wasn’t disappointed he couldn’t reach the number 61 in New York’s 6-0 home standoff.
“You can’t think that way,” Judge said. “It’s not our last home game, so I’m not worried.”
New York has won seven straight games and can secure the AL East title with a win over the Blue Jays on Monday night.
The judge expects his parents to follow him to Toronto and be present again.
“Oh yeah. Hopefully. They’re retired. They have nothing to do. So they better be there,” he said.
The delay presented fans at Yankee Stadium with a difficult choice: wait out a big storm hoping for a historic moment, or go home before the hour was too late.
Many in the sold-out crowd of 46,707 stayed, but there was little audible reaction when the announcement came that the game had been called.
Most of the fans had left their seats to hide in the halls and under overhangs to dry. Some booed when the umpires called for the tarp at 9:15 p.m., but torrential rain soon poured into the stadium. Loud thunder and lightning accompanied a severe storm that lasted after 11 p.m
“I was hoping the game would go on but I was glad we got to see him and hopefully he makes the next homestand,” said Joe Kelly, a Queens fan.
Judge has gone five games without a home run. Since going against Pittsburgh for No. 60 on Tuesday night to spark a comeback in the ninth inning, he’s been 4-15 with three doubles, six walks and six strikeouts.
He came closest to Maris’ 1961 mark when he caught a 404-foot drive just outside the midfield fence on Thursday.
The Yankees are in a three-game streak in Toronto starting Monday and returning home for three games against Baltimore next weekend before ending the regular season in Texas.
Judge, also chasing the AL Triple Crown, led from the bottom of first by landing a double inside third base against rookie Brayan Bello (2-7). The slugger fought back from a 0-2 count to take a walk in the third and was visibly disappointed as he flew into midfield on a hanging slide in the fifth.
“I don’t want to have any expectations of him. I have a feeling he’s going to make it, and if he makes it, it’s going to be great,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “You can’t just push buttons to make things happen. So I’m just proud of how he handles it and continues to be the central figure in us as we win games.”
Just before the game was stopped, Boston right fielder Rob Refsnyder dropped a two-out flyball while looking into the raindrops. The error allowed Aaron Hicks to score from first base, making it 2-0.
Bello then threw a called third strike past Oswald Peraza, ending the sixth inning with Judge on deck.
“I like batting, but I think everyone would want more at-bats,” Judge said. “You can ask anyone in this room, we’re pleased that we came away with a narrow win, and we’re one win closer to winning the division.”
As the rain intensified, fans donned ponchos and opened umbrellas in the stands. Two umpires huddled with a member of the Yankee Stadium ground crew in Foul Territory, and the tarp was rolled onto the infield.
“We’d love to see him reach 61, but at the end of the day we won,” said Yankees fan Billy K. of Queens, who declined to give his last name. “I know most fans came to see him hit the home run, but it is what it is. Hopefully he does it in Toronto.”
Nestor Cortes (11-4) allowed a hit and hit five in a rain-shortened shutout.
Bello also went the distance, giving up a deserved run and six hits.
Oswaldo Cabrera doubled ahead of fourth from New York and scored on Jose Trevino’s two-out singles.
The loss eliminated the last-place Red Sox from playoff contention.
“We had a good team going into the season and we just didn’t perform,” said manager Alex Cora. “We’ve been very inconsistent in many aspects of the game and we just need to get better.”
ON THE CASSETTE
Judge was making his 22nd start this season at DH and his first in two games of a Sept. 7 doubleheader against Minnesota. He hasn’t been on the starting lineup since Aug. 3, and Boone didn’t rule out resting the 30-year-old thug while he’s still chasing Maris.
“I just play it every day,” Boone said. “Hopefully we can get to a point where we have a couple of days to decide what makes the most sense and how to rest him where we can.”
Red Sox: 1B Eric Hosmer (low back inflammation) is moving better according to Cora and could return later in the week. … RHP Nathan Eovaldi (right shoulder inflammation) could be activated by the end of the week. … 3B Rafael Devers and OF Alex Verdugo were rested.
Yankees: INF DJ LeMahieu (right toe infection) remains a possibility for the upcoming Toronto series, and Boone said he thinks and hopes the three-time All-Star and two-time batting champion will be off the injury list by the end of the regular season. … RHP Frankie Montas (right shoulder inflammation) has yet to resume pitching and is unlikely to be an option as a stretched starter when the playoffs begin. But he could be available in shorter stints, Boone said. … DH Giancarlo Stanton, 3B Josh Donaldson and SS Isiah Kiner-Falefa got the night off.
NO MORE YANKEE
INF/OF Miguel Andújar has been claimed by Pittsburgh of waivers. Andújar finished second to Shohei Ohtani for 2018 AL Rookie of the Year.
Red Sox: Rookie RHP Connor Seabold (0-3, 10.47 ERA) opens a four-game series against Baltimore RHP Jordan Lyles (11-11, 4.50) at Fenway Park Monday night.
Yankees: RHP Luis Severino (6-3, 3.36) takes on Toronto RHP Kevin Gausman (12-10, 3.32) Monday night. Richter is 8 for 22 with three home runs in his career against Gausman.
AP freelance writer Larry Fleisher contributed to this report.