NEW YORK (AP) — Aaron Judge walked over to the stands and gave his bat to Spike Lee, a Yankees fan famous for scripting Hollywood dramas.
This weekend’s Astros-Yankees series had all the ups, downs and twist endings audiences could handle. And when baseball’s award season arrives, bet on critics taking a hard look at Judge’s leading role.
“I told him I have to quit taking him for granted,” manager Aaron Boone said.
Judge drove a three-run homer in the 10th inning for his second walk-off hit against the Astros in four days, and New York recovered after nearly being no-hit for the second consecutive game to beat Houston 6-3 Sunday.
“These guys, they never waver,” Judge said. “They stick to their plan, stick to their approach and continue to grind it out. And then Big G hit one about 120 to center, so it was all good.”
Giancarlo Stanton ended a historic hitless drought for New York with a one-out, 111 mph homer in the seventh inning, and DJ LeMahieu followed with a tying two-run drive in the eighth as New York split a four-game series between the AL’s top teams.
“Ended up Judge 2, Us 2,” Houston manager Dusty Baker said.
After Michael King stranded the bases loaded in the 10th, Isiah Kiner-Falefa dropped a two-strike bunt that moved automatic runner Aaron Hicks to third. Right-hander Seth Martinez intentionally walked pinch-hitter Matt Carpenter and struck out LeMahieu, setting up a two-out showdown with the Judge.
Just like on Thursday, when he broke a 6-all tie with a single in the ninth, Judge lifted the major league-leading Yankees. His 112 mph rocket to left-center on a slider landed in the visiting bullpen for his big league-high 28th home run.
“What I marveled at was just how easy he swung,” Boone said. “It’s like…