Aaron Judge, collapsing the Yankees to the brink after being cleared


The Yankees had just three hits in Saturday’s 5-0 loss.

New York Yankees Judge Aaron reacts after hitting against the Houston Astros in the fourth inning of Game 3 of an American League Championship baseball series, Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022, in New York City. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
AP Photo/John Minchillo

NEW YORK (AP) — Coming home for a must-see game, Aaron Judge and the New York Yankees generated more boos than hits.

One more punchless performance and their season is over.

Handcuffed again by Cristian Javier and Houston’s stingy pitching team, the powerhouse Yankees fell obediently Saturday on three harmless hits in a 5-0 loss that left them on the brink of a four-game sweep by the Astros. in the AL Championship Series. .

“We have a lot of talented people in this room and we just couldn’t get everyone to click,” Judge said at a quiet Yankees clubhouse.

New York must find a way out of its playoff slump on Sunday night in Game 4 and beyond, or it will be 13 years and counting without a World Series appearance.

It’s been long in the history of baseball’s most successful franchise. But the only hope left for these $254 million Yankees is an unlikely rally that would make them the second team in major league history to overcome a 3-0 deficit in a best-of-best postseason series. seven.

Boston accomplished the feat in the 2004 ALCS against the rival Yankees en route to winning its first World Series championship in 86 years.

“Our backs are against the wall now,” first baseman Anthony Rizzo said. “Collectively, we just need to do a better job of putting pressure on them.

Right now, New York would host something as simple as a clutch single — because the Astros are kryptonite from the Yankees.

After totaling just four points in two losses to Houston to start the series, New York’s normally mighty roster looked even more overwhelmed on Saturday by providing no support for ace Gerrit Cole.

“I think they attacked the zone,” third baseman Josh Donaldson said. “They have good equipment. They have good arms there. I can’t take anything away from those guys, but we just have to be better.

Judge, who set an American League record with 62 home runs during the regular season, went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts and never got the ball out of the infield. He’s batting .156 with 14 strikeouts and three RBIs in the postseason, including 1 for 12 against the Astros.

“I wouldn’t say (how) I’m doing, we’re going. We have a lot of people in this squad who can carry the club,” Judge said. “I have to mobilize and do my job. Didn’t find the big hit, missed a few the other night. But like I said, we still have a lot of ball game in us. I just have to take care of business tomorrow.

New York is hitting .128 with 41 strikeouts in the series. This from a team that led the majors with 254 homers during the season and finished second in runs against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

“I don’t think I’m puzzled about it. It’s just the nature of the game sometimes,” said outfielder Harrison Bader, who made a costly mistake when he nearly collided with the judge at center right. “That’s a small sample size.”

Giancarlo Stanton doubled on a 3-0 one-out delivery in the fourth inning — the first hit Javier had allowed in 167 pitches against the Yankees this year. The 25-year-old right-hander pitched seven innings and struck out 13 in a three-pitch no-hitter for Houston at Yankee Stadium on June 25.

This series was supposed to be an entertaining matchup between the American League’s preeminent powerhouses, but the Yankees were no match for Houston’s pitchers.

“They don’t really miss much on the big part of the plate,” Rizzo said.

The playoff-proven Astros improved to 8-2 against New York this year, including in October. They knocked the Yankees out of the playoffs in 2015, 2017 and 2019, and are set to do it again.

Yankees manager Aaron Boone shuffled his roster during the series in an effort to get the offense started. Nothing worked.

“Obviously a frustrating day. It felt like we had throws there with Javier to do some things and we just made a few fouls. I thought there were some good at-bats sprinkled in there. But obviously I’m just not able to go up high enough,” Boone said. “We just need to have a bit of spark and something to bounce back and try to get a lead and play with it a bit.”

As the Astros paraded six pitchers to the mound, New York was in danger of being held to a hit for the first time in its 422-game postseason history before Matt Carpenter and Bader got back-to-back two-out singles in the ninth.

Donaldson then struck to end it, bringing the final round in a series of all-day boos from the scattered fans who remained.

“I think they booed a lot tonight,” Donaldson said.

The judge said: “I completely understand their frustration. … I understand why there are boos and why there are sometimes shouts. We have to pick it up as a team.


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