Yankees 5, Angels 3: Judge’s Clutch HR Wins It

Masahiro Tanaka turned in a strong 6⅔ innings, and rookie outfielder Aaron Judge continued his dream season with a go-ahead home run in the eighth inning.

Judge hit a 2-0 cutter from Bud Norris out to right center field to put the Yankees ahead for good. However, the rookie said he was just making up for a mistake he made earlier in the game.

“I screwed up the game for Tanaka. He was untouchable out there after the first inning, and I air-mailed a throw to the backstop,” Judge said. “I screwed up and I wanted to come up the next inning and help the team somehow.”

The errant throw was not scored an error, but did play a part in Tanaka’s eventual no-decision. He settled in after a first inning home run from Kole Calhoun put the Yankees in an early hole. He retired 13 consecutive batters after Andrelton Simmons singled to lead off the second inning.

“You want your pitchers to get through it,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “He got comfortable. I thought his sliders were pretty good, and I thought his splitters were pretty good tonight, too.”

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Tanaka’s trouble came from his defense. Eric Young Jr. reached on Chase Headley‘s 11th fielding error in the seventh, and eventually scored on a Danny Espinosa RBI single. Espinosa moved to second after Judge overthrew the cutoff man and catcher Austin Romine.

Tyler Clippard entered to face the following hitter, Cameron Maybin, who doubled after an eight-pitch at-bat to tie the game, 3-3. The two runs that came across in that seventh inning were charged to Tanaka as unearned runs.

A double by Aaron Hicks, which missed being a homerun by a matter of inches, set the stage for Judge to hit the game-winner in the top of the eighth. Clippard got two more outs in the eight, then closer Dellin Betances dominated his way to a four-out save.

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Didi Gregorius went 4-for-4 with four singles and an intentional walk to extend his hitting streak to 14 games. He notched two RBIs, and raised his average on the season to .344. Four hits in one game is a career-high for the Yankees shortstop. The Yankees other run scored on an RBI single by Chase Headley.

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