NEW YORK -- Given the stage and their opponent, the Yankees knew their best chance for a comeback involved getting Aaron Judge to home plate.Judge's domination of Orioles pitching carried over into the new season on Thursday, as the slugger cleared the right-field wall in the sixth inning, but he
NEW YORK -- Given the stage and their opponent, the Yankees knew their best chance for a comeback involved getting Aaron Judge to home plate.
Judge's domination of Orioles pitching carried over into the new season on Thursday, as the slugger cleared the right-field wall in the sixth inning, but he was left standing on deck with one on in the ninth as the Yanks absorbed a 5-2 loss to their American League East counterparts.
"You always want that last at-bat, especially in that situation and a close game like that," Judge said. "You just want that opportunity. I didn't get it tonight, and you've just got to move on and get ready for tomorrow."
The Yankees face the Orioles in the second game of the series tonight at 7 ET at Yankee Stadium.
Judge opened the scoring with his second homer of the season, a blast off starter Andrew Cashner, though the Orioles quickly answered by peppering Masahiro Tanaka and Chad Green for five runs on six hits in the seventh inning.
For Judge, it was his 58th career home run in 189 games, making him the fastest player in Major League history to reach the mark. Judge's homer came off the bat at 105.5 mph with a launch angle of 25 degrees and traveled a projected 395 feet, according to Statcast™.
On his way to securing American League Rookie of the Year Award honors while finishing second in the AL MVP race, Judge wore out O's hurlers last season.
Since the start of 2017, Judge is batting .415 (27-for-65) with 32 runs, five doubles, 12 homers, 25 RBIs and 24 walks in 20 games against the Orioles. In 11 home games, he is hitting .459 (17-for-37) with 22 runs, three doubles, nine homers, 18 RBIs and 14 walks.
No wonder Yankees manager Aaron Boone found himself counting to the No. 2 spot in the lineup as his club attempted to chip away at closer Brad Brach.
"You're looking at the lineup and, down three there in the ninth, if we can get it to Judge, we've got a chance," Boone said. "That's kind of what you hope for in that ninth inning."
Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.