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Aaron Judge’s chase for history will go international, after being robbed of at least one more at-bat in The Bronx on Sunday night.
For the fifth straight game — this one shortened by rain — the Yankees slugger remained stuck at 60 home runs, one shy of Roger Maris’ American League and franchise record.
Judge went 1-for-2 with a double and a walk in the Yankees’ seventh straight win, 2-0 in six innings over the Red Sox. He was set to lead off the bottom of the seventh inning, but the game entered a delay after the sixth inning because of torrential downpours and then got called after more than an hour and a half.
The Yankees (94-58) will begin a three-game series in Toronto on Monday, needing just one win over the Blue Jays to clinch the AL East, though all eyes will continue to be on Judge. He has hit 11 home runs in 34 career games at Rogers Centre.
After drilling a pair of home runs in the Yankees’ last road game, Judge entered the six-game homestand at 59 home runs. Then, after hitting No. 60 on Tuesday night, he looked primed to tie and possibly break Maris’ record in front of a packed Yankee Stadium — which was sold out for the third straight game on Sunday.
Instead, Judge finished the homestand 5-for-19 with one home run, three doubles, seven walks and seven strikeouts.
This marks only the ninth time this season that Judge has gone at least five straight games without a home run.
In his first at-bat against Red Sox rookie right-hander Brayan Bello, Judge ripped a 96 mph sinker down the third-base line for a double.
In the third inning, Judge fell behind 0-2 before working a full count and drawing a walk, which was met with boos from the crowd.
Bello gave Judge a slider to hit in the fifth inning and the slugger sent a charge in the crowd when he put it in the air, but he got under it for an easy flyout.
The rain began falling in the middle of the sixth inning and quickly picked up during the bottom of the frame. Then, with Judge standing on deck, Oswald Peraza made the final out of the inning, and minutes later, the grounds crew was pulling the tarp onto the field.
Nestor Cortes delivered the latest strong start in his All-Star season, tossing six shutout, one-hit innings. In four starts since returning from the injured list for a groin strain, Cortes has given up just four runs over 20 innings, further solidifying his spot as one of the Yankees’ top three starters for a playoff series.
Cortes did not allow a hit until the fourth inning, when Rob Refnsyder roped a ground-rule double to left field that put runners on second and third after Tommy Pham had led off with a walk. But Cortes stranded them there by getting Triston Casas to strike out looking, capping off a 31-pitch inning.
The Yankees then took the lead in the bottom of the fourth, which Oswaldo Cabrera led off with a double to the gap. Cabrera then stole third and came around to score on Jose Trevino’s two-out single through the left side to go up 1-0.
The Red Sox gifted the Yankees an insurance run in the sixth inning, just after the rain started to come down. With a runner on first and two outs, Marwin Gonzalez skied a fly ball to right field that Refsnyder camped under before dropping it. The error allowed Aaron Hicks to score from first for the 2-0 lead.