Judge homers twice, Yankees beat KC 6-4 for 9th straight win
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Luis Severino had a good vantage point to watch Aaron Judge send a pitch 453 feet to straightaway center field in the first inning Sunday, and the Yankees starter marveled at the nearly 400-foot homer that the slugger added in the ninth.
It was the 30-foot oopsie RBI that Judge hit in between that helped get Severino off the hook for a loss.
Along with running his homer streak to three straight games, Judge drove in the tying run in the seventh on a checked swing that trundled slowly down the first-base line, helping New York rally for a 6-4 victory over the Kansas City Royals that pushed the club’s winning streak to nine games.
“What can I say?” Severino asked. “The guy’s a monster.”
Not on that groundout, though. It traveled all of 30 feet. But certainly on the two homers, which combined to travel nearly the length of three football fields. They gave Judge five in his last five games and eight on the season.
“I mean, the way he cleaned that first one out, man — it’s hard to hit one more pure,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said.
Josh Donaldson drove in the go-ahead run in the seventh on a fielder’s choice. Clarke Schmidt (2-2) pitched a scoreless inning in relief to earn the win, then was optioned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre afterward. Aroldis Chapman left the tying run on base in the ninth to earn his sixth save on the year and 20th in a row.
“Everyone came in and contributed,” Boone said. “We didn’t break it open but everyone had a hand in there.”
The Yankees, riding the longest winning streak in the majors, improved to 16-6. It’s only the fourth time since 1959 that the 27-time World Series champions have won at least 16 of their first 22 games.
Michael Taylor homered for Kansas City, which has lost eight of its last 10.
The Royals looked as if they might avoid the sweep when Nicky Lopez, Whit Merrifield and Andrew Benintendi loaded the bases in the third inning. Severino’s wild pitch allowed Lopez to score from third, and after Salvador Perez hit into a fielder’s choice, Carlos Santana snuck a two-out double down the right-field line to give Kansas City a 3-1 lead.
The Royals added another run in the fourth thanks in part to an error on third baseman DJ LeMahieu, the Yankees’ second in as many days. Prior to that, they had gone 13 straight games without committing one.
LeMahieu, atoning for his miscue, and Isiah Kiner-Falefa each drove in a run to get the Yankees within 4-3, and Judge and Donaldson completed the comeback in the seventh, before the tack-on homer in the ninth.
“The seventh has been the inning that has been biting us pretty hard,” Royals manager Mike Matheny said.
Schmidt was optioned along with LF Miguel Andujar, who went 2 for 4 and scored a run for New York. “It’s a real tough pill to swallow,” Schmidt said. “It’s a tough part of the game but it’s a business also.”
Yankees: OF Joey Gallo was out of the lineup after leaving Saturday night’s game with tightness in his left groin, though the injury is not considered serious. “I wanted to keep playing,” Gallo said, “but I think it’s just the smart move.”
Royals: C Cam Gallagher left the game with a strained left hamstring. ... 3B Bobby Witt Jr. was removed from the starting lineup an hour before first pitch. He was hit on the wrist by a pitch Saturday night. “Yeah, he’s sore,” Matheny said.
The Yankees visit Toronto for a three-game set beginning Monday night with LHP Jordan Montgomery (0-1, 2.70) starting the opener.
The Royals play a makeup game Monday in St. Louis with RHP Zack Greinke (0-1, 2.86) on the mound, then the cross-state rivals return to Kansas City for two more games beginning Tuesday night.
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