Judge’s 60th homer sparks 5-run 9th, Yankees stun Pirates 9-8

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NEW YORK – Aaron Judge hit his 60th home run and Giancarlo Stanton followed with a game-ending grand slam, completing the New York Yankees’ stunning five-run, ninth-inning rally to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 9-8 on Tuesday night.

Judge moved within one of Roger Maris’ American League record when he turned on a sinker from right-hander Wil Crowe (5-10) leading off the inning and drove it 430 feet into the left-field bleachers, pulling New York to 8-5.

Judge took a rare curtain call, forced by his teammates.

“I really didn’t want to do it,” he said.

Judge matched the 60 home runs Babe Ruth hit for the 1927 Yankees to set a big league record that stood for 34 years. It came off a pitcher whose great, great uncle, Hall of Famer Red Ruffing, was Ruth’s teammate on the Yankees in the 1930s.

“He did what he was supposed to do with it,” Crowe said, “3-1 count, I’m not going to put him on. I felt like I wanted to go after him. Started away, came back in. He put a good swing on a bad pitch.”

Anthony Rizzo doubled, Gleyber Torres walked and Josh Donaldson singled to load the bases. Stanton, mired in a 9-for-72 slump, sent a changeup half a dozen rows into the left-field seats to set off a raucous celebration among what remained of the crowd of 40,157 at Yankee Stadium.

Stanton’s low drive was measured at 118 mph.

“I kind of lost my mind,” Judge said. “That’s a signiture Giancarlo Stanton 10-foot laser.”

Roger Maris Jr. and Kevin Maris, sons of the former player, were both on hand. Specially marked balls were used each time Judge walked to the plate. Fans in the outfield seats stood and many groaned with each foul ball.

Aroldis Chapman (3-3) pitched a 1-2-3 ninth.

Bryan Reynolds tied it 4-4 with a seventh-inning home run off Lou Trivino and had a go-ahead single off Jonathan Loaisiga in the eighth for his fourth hit.

Rodolfo Castro – the player suspended for a game by Major League Baseball last month after a cell phone flew out of his pocket during a headfirst slide – followed with a three-run homer against Clay Holmes.

Holmes, an All-Star who has slumped in the second half, was pitching against his former team for the first time.

Harrison Bader had a pair of go-ahead singles and drove in three runs in his debut for the Yankees. First baseman Anthony Rizzo made a key error that led to the four-run eighth inning for the already-eliminated Pirates.

Reynolds also had a three-base error on a dropped fly in center, one of two errors by a team that leads the major leagues with 108.-

FUNKY

Nestor Cortes stopped his leg twice in a double hesitation windup to Reynolds in the third but gave up a single to center.

FAMILY MATTERS

Former Yankees 3B Charlie Hayes, who caught the final out of the 1996 World Series, threw a ceremonial first pitch to his son, Pirates 3B Ke'Bryan Hayes.

MOVING UP

Pittsburgh promoted six players to Triple-A Indianapolis following the end of the season at Double-A Altoona: RHPs Quinn Priester and Colin Selby, 2B-C-OF Endy Rodriguez, INF Aaron Shackelford, 3B Malcom Nunez, OF Matt Gorski. “Now we have another 10 days of at-bats we can get them,” manager Derek Shelton said. “Losing 2020 was so vital for organizations like ours. The more reps we can get them, the better it is.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Yankees: RHP Frankie Montas received a second cortisone injection in his ailing right shoulder and went on the 15-day IL, retroactive to Saturday. … LHP Zack Britton (Tommy John surgery) pitched a one-hit inning for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in his eighth rehab outing. RHP Miguel Castro (strained shoulder) pitched a hitless inning for the RailRiders.

UP NEXT

New York RHP Luis Severino (5-3, 3.45) starts Wednesday after recovering from a lat strain that has sidelined him since July 13. RHP Roansy Contreras (5-4, 3.24) pitches for the Pirates.

Braves sweep Mets, take 2-game lead in East with 3 remaining

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ATLANTA — Dansby Swanson and Matt Olson homered for the third straight game, Travis d'Arnaud hit a go-ahead two-run single in the third inning, and Atlanta Braves beat the New York Mets 5-3, completing a three-game sweep of their NL East rival and taking a two-game lead in the division with three games to play.

The defending World Series champion Braves have been chasing the Mets the entire season. In the final series of the season, any combination of one Atlanta win or one Mets loss would give the Braves their fifth straight division title.

New York plays its final three games of the season against worst-in-the-majors Washington. Atlanta closed out the regular season with a three-game set in Miami. Should the season end Wednesday in a tie, Atlanta would win the division after claiming the season series 10-9 with Sunday’s victory.

The Braves won five of the last six games in the series, outscoring the Mets 42-19 over that stretch. New York had a 10 1/2-game lead on June 1 but now is the lower in the standings than at any point this season.

It was a lost weekend for New York, which came to Atlanta hoping to clinch its first division title since 2015. Instead, aces Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer lost Friday and Saturday before 15-game winner Chris Bassitt lasted just 2 2/3 innings on Sunday.

Swanson took Bassitt deep to right-center in the first with his 25th homer, and Atlanta took charge with a three-run third. Bassitt (15-9) issued a bases-loaded walk to Olson before d’Arnaud delivered a single up the middle to score Ronald Acuna Jr. and Austin Riley for a 4-3 lead. That chased Bassitt, who was charged with four runs, three hits and three walks.

Olson connected for his 33rd homer to make it 5-3 leading off the sixth, his 410-foot shot landing in the seats in right-center. Olson, in his first year with Atlanta, surpassed 100 RBIs for the second straight season.

Charlie Morton stranded runners on first and second in the first, but he gave up Daniel Vogelbach‘s 18th homer that tied it at 1 in the second. The righty struck out Francisco Lindor with runners on first and second to end the threat.

Jeff McNeil went deep off Morton in the third and Vogelbach followed with an RBI single to put the Mets up 3-1. Morton entered the game having allowed 28 homers, sixth-most in the NL.

Morton scuffled throughout his start, giving up three runs and nine hits in 4 1/3 innings as the 38-year-old made his first start since signing a $20 million, one-year contract to remain with Atlanta next season.

Dylan Lee (5-1) relieved Morton and pitched 1 1/3 innings, leaving after a walk to Brandon Nimmo with two outs in the sixth. Collin McHugh entered and struck out Francisco Lindor.

Raisel Iglesias faced four batters in the seventh, A.J. Minter faced the minimum in the eighth and closer Kenley Jansen converted his third save of the series with a clean ninth.

Jansen leads the NL with 40 saves in 47 chances.

The Braves’ bullpen, which posted a 1.70 ERA last month, pitched 8 2/3 scoreless innings the last two nights.

BIG NUMBERS

Atlanta leads the NL with 241 homers. And the Braves have their first 100-victory season since 2003.

TWO, DARN HOT

McNeil went 3 for 5 and has multiple hits in five straight games. His average is .326, one point behind the Dodgers’ Freddie Freeman for the NL batting title. In 23 career games at Truist Park, McNeil is hitting .395 with 12 runs, nine doubles, two homers, seven RBIs and four walks. … Jansen tied Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley for eighth place on the career list with 389. He’s also is the 10th closer to have four different seasons with at least 40 saves.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Mets All-Star RF Starling Marte (right middle finger fracture) has yet to begin swinging or throwing. … Braves 2B Ozzie Albies (broken right pinky finger) is still wearing a cast. … Braves RHP Spencer Strider still has not thrown as he gets treatment on a sore left oblique.

ATTENDANCE

The Braves drew 42,713 in their regular season finale, the club’s 42nd sellout of the season. Overall. that’s 3,129,931 for the season – and the most tickets sold since 2000. In 2019, the team’s last full season before the COVID-19 pandemic, Atlanta drew 2,655,100.

UP NEXT

Mets: RHP Carlos Carrasco (15-7, 3.95 ERA) will face Nationals RHP Cory Abbott (0-4, 5.11).

Braves: RHP Bryce Elder (2-3, 2.76 ERA) will face Marlins LHP Jesus Luzardo (3-7, 3.53).