Judge homers after Yanks drop him from leadoff spot in ALDS

Oct 15, 2022, 1:54 AM | Updated: 6:02 pm
New York Yankees' Aaron Judge hits a two-run home run in the third inning of Game 3 of the baseball...

New York Yankees' Aaron Judge hits a two-run home run in the third inning of Game 3 of the baseball team's AL Division Series against the Cleveland Guardians, Saturday, Oct. 15, 2022, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/David Dermer)

(AP Photo/David Dermer)

CLEVELAND (AP) — Aaron Judge has busted out of his fall funk.

Dropped from the leadoff spot to No. 2 in the lineup, New York’s star slugger — and baseball’s home run king — connected for a two-run shot in the third inning of Game 3 of the AL Division series against the Cleveland Guardians.

After striking out for the eighth time in nine at-bats in the first, Judge drove a 2-1 fastball from Triston McKenzie over the wall in center field, tying it at 2. The 449-foot shot was his 12th career postseason homer, and the Yankees can only hope it gets him going this October.

Yankees manager Aaron Boone said he woke up Saturday morning with the idea of moving Judge out of the leadoff spot.

“I wanted to change that up a little bit,” Boone said.

Judge, who set the AL record with 62 home runs this season and contended for the Triple Crown, struck out four times in New York’s 4-2 loss in 10 innings in Game 2, and got booed at Yankee Stadium.

“Judge has hit a lot of second in his career, and just wanted to shake that up a little bit,” Boone said.

Boone juggled his lineup, dropping Judge as well Anthony Rizzo from No. 2 to No. 3 and Oswaldo Cabrera from six to nine. He also moved Isiah Kiner-Falefa up from seventh to sixth and Harrison Bader from nine to seven.

The Yankees are without a true leadoff hitter with DJ LeMahieu and Andrew Benintendi both out with injuries.

“Judge is the most logical leadoff guy with us with no D.J. and no Bennie,” Boone said. “So, that’s as big a thing as anything.”

Judge has had major issues against Cleveland in three postseason series. He entered Game 3 just 2 of 37 with 27 strikeouts in nine games.

But Boone felt Judge was close to getting his swing right, and it looked pretty good on his big swing.

Judge started 34 times in the leadoff spot this season, many of them beginning in mid-September as he chased Roger Maris’ league record of 61 homers.

___

More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Pacific Division's Elias Pettersson, of the Vancouver Canucks (40) tries to get a shot off on Centr...
Associated Press

Central makes final at NHL All-Star Game, tops Pacific 6-4

SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) — Arizona’s Clayton Keller had two goals and an assist, Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon scored twice and the Central Division moved into the title matchup with a 6-4 win over the Pacific Division to start the All-Star Game on Saturday. St. Louis’ Vladimir Tarasenko had a goal and three assists for the Central. […]
2 days ago
Associated Press

Former AP sports writer Denne H. Freeman dies at 86

DALLAS (AP) — Retired longtime Associated Press sports writer Denne H. Freeman, whose 32 years with the AP included covering all five Super Bowl championships won by the Dallas Cowboys and many golf majors, has died after a series of health issues. He was 86. Freeman’s family said he died Friday night at a Plano […]
2 days ago
FILE - Allegiant Stadium is shown during the second half of the Pro Bowl NFL football game between ...
Associated Press

NFL infuses Pro Bowl with points system, flag football

LAS VEGAS (AP) — The NFL finally stopped pretending its all-star game was an actual game, and is breathing life into the exhibition with Sunday’s Pro Bowl Games. There will be no tackle football played for the first time — not that there was much tackling in recent years, more like two-hand touch. Flag football […]
2 days ago
Al Ahly players celebrate after Al Ahly's Mohamed Afsha scored his side's opening goal during the F...
Associated Press

Al Ahly’s late goal ends Seattle debut 1-0 in Club World Cup

TANGIER, Morocco (AP) — Mohamed Afsha scored on a deflected shot in the 88th minute and sent Al Ahly into the Club World Cup semifinals by beating the Seattle Sounders 1-0 on Saturday. Afsha scored after coming on as a substitute in the 63rd. He lifted Al Ahly into the semifinals for the third straight […]
2 days ago
Sarah Nurse, left, a Canadian hockey player and two-time Olympic gold medalist, and A.J. Mleczko, r...
Associated Press

Panthers offer Sarah Nurse deal to lead girls hockey program

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — The Florida Panthers are trying to sign a high-scoring forward who has an Olympic gold medal and two world championships, with hopes of getting the deal done in the coming days. If it happens, she won’t be playing for the Panthers. Sarah Nurse, the Canadian forward who had a highlight-reel […]
2 days ago
Virginia Tech's Justyn Mutts (25) has the ball tipped from him by Virginia's Ryan Dunn (13) in the ...
Associated Press

Pedulla’s 22 points lift Virginia Tech past No. 6 Virginia

BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) — Sean Pedulla scored 22 points and Virginia Tech beat No. 6 Virginia 74-68 on Saturday, snapping the Cavaliers’ seven-game winning streak. Pedulla made 6 of 13 from the floor as the Hokies (14-10, 4-8 Atlantic Coast Conference) posted their biggest win of the season. He added 8 of 9 from the […]
2 days ago
Judge homers after Yanks drop him from leadoff spot in ALDS