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.

Blue Jays clinch playoff berth with Orioles’ loss to Red Sox

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TORONTO — The Blue Jays clinched a postseason berth Thursday without taking the field.

Toronto was assured of an AL wild card berth when the Boston Red Sox beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-3.

If Toronto holds its current position as the first of the AL’s three wild cards, the Blue Jays would open a best-of-three wild-card series at Rogers Centre next week.

“These guys are excited to be in this position,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said after Wednesday’s 8-3 loss to the New York Yankees. “You’ve got three really good pitchers lined up against a good Boston team, playing at home. So I think it’s more excitement more than it’s nerves or anything. I think the guys are going to come out and be ready to roll on Friday night.”

Toronto became the fourth AL team to clinch a playoff berth, joining division champions Houston, the Yankees and Cleveland. The Astros and Yankees have first-round byes.

The Blue Jays last went to the playoffs in 2020, when they were knocked out with two straight losses to Tampa Bay.

Eight of the 12 berths in the expanded postseason have been clinched: The Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis earned division titles, and Atlanta and the New York Mets are assured no worse the wild cards while still competing to win the NL East. The Dodgers have a first-round bye.