HOUSTON -- Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge showed once again that he's not only an elite hitter, but he can play some defense, too, as he made an incredible leaping catch at the wall to rob the Astros' Yuli Gurriel of extra bases -- and, possibly, a home run --
HOUSTON -- Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge showed once again that he's not only an elite hitter, but he can play some defense, too, as he made an incredible leaping catch at the wall to rob the Astros' Yuli Gurriel of extra bases -- and, possibly, a home run -- in the second inning of Game 7 of the American League Championship Series presented by Camping World on Saturday.
His heroics, however, could not prevent a 4-0 loss that brought the Yankees' postseason run to an end.
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Gurriel jumped all over a 2-0 sinker from Carsten Sabathia, lining it the other way to right, but Judge made a good read and jumped into the wall to make the catch. The ball had an exit velocity of 99.4 mph and a launch angle of 22 degrees, giving it a hit probability of 52 percent, per Statcast™. Balls hit at that exit velocity and launch angle go for homers roughly 10 percent of the time, but with the short fence in right field at Minute Maid Park, the ball appeared as though it was going to be a homer before Judge snagged it.
"[Gurriel has] been swinging the bat well this whole playoff," Judge said. "For me, he's a guy who has good opposite-field power. Right off the bat, I was trying to go out there and make a play for CC. He's pitching his butt off. I just tried to jump up there and make a play."
Judge was helped by the fact that he was playing deeper than usual; his normal starting depth is 288 feet, but he was at 295 feet on the play. He played at 288 feet in Game 2, when Carlos Correa homered to right in almost the same spot and Judge couldn't quite make the play.
"Impressive," left fielder Brett Gardner said. "He's probably the only guy in the game who makes that play. I've said all year, he's not just a power hitter. He's capable of changing the game in a lot of different ways. He runs the bases well, he plays a good right field, and that was just another example right there of the way he's capable of changing the game, not just with the bat but on defense, too."
Judge made a similar catch in Game 3, also robbing Gurriel of a hit off Sabathia at Yankee Stadium with a jumping catch into the right-field wall.
Rhett Bollinger has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter **@RhettBollinger** and **Facebook**.