'Showing off his athleticism,' Judge robs HR

June 18th, 2021

At 6-foot-7, is one of MLB's tallest sluggers. His stature came in handy when the Yankees' right fielder pulled off one of the most impressive catches of the season in Thursday's 8-4 win over the Blue Jays at Sahlen Field in Buffalo, N.Y.

The Blue Jays had just taken a 4-3 lead on Randal Grichuk's RBI single in the bottom of the sixth inning when the next batter, Cavan Biggio, lifted a high fly ball to right field in an attempt to pad Toronto's advantage.

Judge tracked it all the way to the wall, then used his entire frame to make a leaping catch and pull the potential two-run homer back with surprising ease. Off the bat, however, his skipper didn't see it coming.

"When I first saw it, I went, 'Man.' I didn't even step out to watch him go catch it," said manager Aaron Boone. "Then I heard the reaction. So obviously I was excited."

It wasn't until the next half-inning that Boone managed to track down the video so he could actually see the play.

"What a great catch," he said. "I was giving [Judge] a hard time before his next at-bat. I said, 'Sometimes you guys make these little ones where you lean over to catch it, but that was a real one.' That was nice. Just showing off his athleticism for such a big man. But a huge defensive play in that game."

By keeping it a one-run contest, Judge set the stage for Giancarlo Stanton's two-run homer in the seventh. Stanton said that the Yankees felt a surge of momentum after his slugging partner's stellar grab in the field, joking, "He saved two runs and I hit two runs; we basically did the same thing."

"That was crazy. That was an awesome play," Stanton said. "It definitely took the energy out of that other dugout, too. So huge play and definitely part of the reason why we won."

The highest praise for Judge's catch came from third baseman Gio Urshela, who knows his way around defensive gems -- including on Thursday, when he helped the Yankees turn their second triple play of the season. Urshela said there was no moment in the game more important than that home run robbery.

"That changed the game," he said. "It brought more energy to the dugout and to us."