On many days, a star returning to the lineup after an injury and having a three-hit day as the offense went off for double digit runs would be the story of the game. Some others, the story would be another strange start from an inconsistent ace. However, this day contained Aaron Judge.
Anthony Rizzo had a big game in his first once since August 31st, going 3-for-6 with a home run. He was pretty good and having him in there definitely makes the lineup look deeper. However, the man who still plays the star role is Judge.
Judge went off in the series finale in Milwaukee, hitting two home runs to get to 59 on the season. Even beyond that, he managed two other hits and a walk, not only giving his home run chase hopes big boost, but also his triple crown hopes.
Even beyond Judge and Rizzo, it was a big day in general for the Yankees’ offense; they put up 12 runs on 16 hits, with Oswaldo Cabrera and Aaron Hicks also contributing multi-hit performances. While Gerrit Cole and Yankee pitching in general didn’t have a great day, the offense did enough for a 12-8 win over the Brewers.
While the game was dominated by the Yankees’ offense, it was the Brewers who struck first. In the first inning, Cole had issued two walks, including one with two outs when he was a strike away from getting out of a jam. That came back to haunt him, as Kolten Wong took him deep, putting Milwaukee in front early.
Cabrera got one of those runs back in the second when he crushed a homer to center, getting the Yankees on the board. The three-run edge for Milwaukee would be restored when Tyrone Taylor added another home run in the bottom half of the inning.
But the home runs only kept coming from there. With one out in the third, Judge hit his 58th home run of the season.
The Judge drops the gavel for No. 58 ⚖️ pic.twitter.com/vhALyAMwZH— New York Yankees (@Yankees) September 18, 2022
More on him later. A returning Rizzo then followed that with a home run of his own.
In the fifth, the Yankees took the lead after nearly hitting around. Judge walked and Rizzo singled, and both moved up a base when Gleyber Torres hit a deep fly out that was eventually tracked down by the center field Taylor for an out. A Josh Donaldson walk then loaded the bases, setting up a pair of weird infield singles.
Giancarlo Stanton was up next, and he scorched a grounder to Luis Urías at third. While the fielder managed to knock it down, he fumbled it a bit, and a combination of that and second baseman Wong not having his foot on the bag at second not only allowed a run to score, but ensured everyone was safe. In the next at-bat, Cabrera shattered his bat, but his grounder managed to squeeze through for a single and another run. Two batters late, Kyle Higashioka put the cherry on top of the inning, singling to in two more runs.
While he got into and eventually escaped a jam in the fifth, Cole mostly settled down after his bad first two innings. Clarke Schmidt came in for the sixth, so Cole finished with a final line of four runs on four hits and three walks, striking out eight in five innings. Obviously not a type of start you want from your ace, but he managed to keep things from ballooning out of control after the bad beginning.
After a 1-2-3 sixth from Schmidt, the Yankees picked up a couple runs in the top of the seventh. Following a leadoff double by Cabrera, he would move to third and then score on two consecutive groundouts. Hicks came up next and he added a home run, his first since July 9th. That flipped the lineup back to the top, and it was time for that man again. On the fourth pitch of that at-bat, Judge took one deep to left-center for his 59th home run of the season.
That got him to within two of tying Roger Maris and the Yankees/AL record.
Following another scoreless inning in the seventh, Schmidt came back out for the eighth, but the Brewers eventually got to him then. Following a Willy Adames double, Rowdy Tellez hit a two-run shot. He then got the first out of the inning, but in the next at-bat, Schmidt took a comebacker off the foot/ankle, leading to his exit from the game. He walked off on his own, with no visible limp or anything, but that’ll be something to keep an eye on.
Jonathan Loáisiga replaced him and allowed a single to Urías, putting the Yankees in a bit of a jam. He eventually got out of it, but it required a nice running catch from Cabrera to finish the job.
In the ninth, Judge got a shot at 60 as the Yankees managed to get to his spot in the order. However, he had to settle for “just” a two-RBI double.
Wandy Peralta came in for the ninth, and things immediately got a little sketchy, as he allowed three-straight singles to start the inning. At that point, the Yankees decided to go back to the bullpen and bring in Clay Holmes. That didn’t stop the bleeding, as Jace Peterson doubled to score two runs. A walk then allowed the Brewers to bring the tying run to the plate, but Holmes finally managed to escape the jam after that, sealing the win.
Elsewhere in the AL East, the Rays won and the Blue Jays lost, meaning the magic number to finish ahead of both teams is now 11. After the last two games, it was pretty crucial to get at least one win in the series,