Yankees' series-opening win against Orioles overshadowed by Aaron Judge's early exit

Peter Sblendorio, New York Daily News on

Published in Baseball

New York — The New York Yankees won the initial battle in this week’s divisional war with the Baltimore Orioles, but they lost star slugger Aaron Judge in the process.

Judge exited in the fourth inning of Tuesday’s 4-2 victory in the Bronx, an inning after Baltimore starter Albert Suárez drilled him in the left hand with a 94.1-mph fastball.

In visible pain, Judge immediately grabbed his hand and took several slow steps toward the mound, shooting a look toward Suárez as he started to make his way toward first base.

Judge remained in the game and scored on a Giancarlo Stanton RBI single, then played defense in center field in the top of the fourth before being replaced by pinch-hitter Trent Grisham in the bottom of the inning.

Judge, whose 26 home runs lead all MLB hitters, was set to undergo imaging at New York-Presbyterian and was expected to be seen by head team physician Dr. Christopher Ahmad.

The early exit cast a shadow over an otherwise significant pre-All-Star-break win for the Yankees (51-24), who extended their lead in the American League East over Baltimore (47-25) to 2.5 games.

Yankees starter Nestor Cortes hurled six scoreless innings against the Orioles, limiting baseball’s third-ranked offense to five hits while striking out six. The left-hander did not issue a walk, using an upper-80s cutter to help navigate a Baltimore lineup featuring seven right-handed bats.

Cortes continues to dominate at Yankee Stadium, where he now boasts a 1.57 ERA in eight starts this season compared to a 5.57 mark in eight starts on the road.

The Yankees jumped out to an early advantage Tuesday when Anthony Volpe’s second-inning RBI single put them up 1-0. Stanton’s run-scoring hit to drive in Judge an inning later doubled the lead.

Gleyber Torres and D.J. LeMahieu added sacrifice flies in the third and fifth innings, respectively.


All of Baltimore’s offense came on a two-run home run by Anthony Santander in the ninth inning against Clay Holmes, who has now allowed four runs over his last two appearances.

First baseman Ben Rice went 1 for 4 in his MLB debut, hours after he was called up to help replace Anthony Rizzo, who is expected to be out for about two months with a fractured right forearm.

Billed as a battle for first place, the three-game set started off much differently than the Yankees’ first series this season against the Orioles. The Yankees dropped three of four in Baltimore from April 29 to May 2, totaling only six runs in those games.

Judge went 1 for 13 in that series, dropping his season average to .197. He then hit .387 with 20 home runs in his 41 games between the two series against the Orioles and was 1 for 1 before leaving Tuesday’s game.

The Yankees are set to get back one of their top stars for Wednesday night’s middle game, with ace Gerrit Cole scheduled to make his season debut after being diagnosed with inflammation and edema in his right elbow during spring training.

The reigning American League Cy Young Award winner pitched to a 15-4 record, a 2.63 ERA and 222 strikeouts over 209 innings last season.

Rookie left-hander Cade Povich, who is 0-1 with a 4.76 ERA in two starts, is set to start for Baltimore.


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