The Yankees win the berth in the 2022 playoffs with the first leg victory over the Red Sox

NEW YORK – Four feet separated Aaron Judge from making history delightfully Thursday night at Yankee Stadium, the batter’s ninth inning exploded from his bat and soared to the Monument Park lair of legends. Perhaps, on a warmer evening, the ball would have come close to No. 9. We will never know.

As Judge’s sprint ran out, it was Josh Donaldson instead who sealed a significant Yankees victory, providing the consolation prize to those who wished to see Judge hit his 61st homer. Donaldson’s RBI single in tenth place led to a 5-4 win over the Red Sox, taking the Bombers’ spot in postseason 2022.

“It’s not over yet, but having the opportunity to play baseball after the season is going to be fun,” said Donaldson. “I thought Judgie was angry with a homer, but it was nice to be able to make it for the team.”

The Yankees are a playoff club for the sixth consecutive year or, to put it in context, a streak of consecutive wins that spans each of the full seasons of Judge. They have reached postseason 24 of the past 28 years and Aaron Boone is the first manager to stamp a playoff ticket in each of his first five seasons, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

“You never want to take it for granted,” Boone said. “We are in the dance and now we have a chance.”

Simply grabbing a post-season spot was never a goal for this team, which has been targeting an American League East title since day one of spring. The Yanks’ magic number for the split is six compared to the Blue Jays, and as such, their clubhouse celebration was more of a mute acknowledgment.

Donaldson received the gold-plated, wrestling-style championship belt, indicative of that night’s most valuable contributor. The veteran closed his speech by saying to his teammates: “Welcome back to the playoffs”.

“There has been a lot of hard work over the course of the season to get to this point,” Judge said. “But I think you can ask anyone in this room: the work isn’t done.”

Oh, but it could have been a magical moment, destined for Yankeeography episode and mushy music borrowed from the soundtrack of “The Natural”. One big shot from equaling Maris’s 61-year American League record for home runs in a single season, Judge has made three of her first four appearances at the plate, hearing fans loudly mock pitchers who don’t. they dared to make cookies in the middle.

The judge had already offered a reminder as to why he should be the AL’s most valuable player at the top of ninth, shooting a second base seed from the right field wall that knocked Tommy Pham down in an attempt to stretch a single in a double.

“You take him off our team,” Donaldson said, “and we’re probably not sitting in the position we are in now.”

The judge was once again showing patience with the pot at the bottom of the ninth, bringing the tally to 2-2 against Matt Barnes. Boston’s right-hander tested a 95.8 mph fastball that caught too flat in the upper half of the strike zone. The judge fired – a cannon blast coming from his mace at 113 mph – wowing a crowd of 43,123 who remained standing during each of his appearances at the plate.

The judge dropped the bat and trotted at three-quarters speed, hoping he could reach the net over the monuments. Central winger Kiké Hernández turned back, then paused, shoes firmly planted on the warning track. The ball fell into Hernández’s glove and an entire city apparently groaned in unison.

“I just got a little under it,” the judge said. “It was a pretty windy night. I was hoping it had exploded. I just lost it. “

Boone said, “I thought it would be pretty flashy to leave it at Monument Park out there.”

The seeds for the Yankees’ 16th walk-off victory, Major League leaders, were planted soon. Although Judge remained unsuccessful in his career against Michael Wacha (0 of 15, 10 strikeouts), Kyle Higashioka lifted a sacrifice fly in the fifth inning and Giancarlo Stanton crushed a two-point homer from the right-hander in the sixth.

Jameson Taillon got off to a brilliant start, scattering four wins and scoring eight out of six goalless innings. Clarke Schmidt had a shaky exit, allowing for a solo home run by Triston Casas and a three-point home run against Reese McGuire who put Boston in the lead, 4-3.

Stanton kicked off an eighth inning rally with an opening single. Tim Locastro stole the second, advanced to a groundout and scored on a Harrison Bader sacrifice flight to equalize the match at 4.

There was a lot to see; just not what we are all waiting for.

“Every time [Judge] it comes, “Taillon said,” everyone runs out to look at the joke. Nobody wants to lose it. We know it will happen at some point. “

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