The New York Yankees jumped off to an early lead in Tuesday’s Game 5 of the American League Division Series against the Cleveland Guardians.
Thanks to a Giancarlo Stanton three-run home run, the Yankees struck first in the winner-take-all affair, in the first inning.
The second inning, however, belonged to Aaron Judge.
“#ALLRISE. This was #AaronJudge‘s fourth HR in a winner-take-all game, the most in @MLB history. #Postseason,” Yankees insider Bryan Hoch tweeted.
— Bryan Hoch (@BryanHoch) October 18, 2022
That home run was good to give the Yankees a 4-0 lead, which the Guardians cut to 4-1 with a Jose Ramirez sac fly an inning later.
Judge might have some issues making contact from time to time, but there is no denying that in games in which the winner advances and the loser goes home, he often delivers.
It’s the fourth time he has gone yard in that situation in his career.
Clutch Home Runs
Those situations include Wild Card games and series that go the full slate of games.
It’s also the second long ball of the 2022 postseason for Judge after hitting 62 during the regular season.
The first two games of the Guardians series were rough for Judge, who went 0-for-8 with seven strikeouts.
He has three hits in the last two games, however, including two home runs.
He seems to be slowly, but surely getting back to where he was in the regular season.
Before taking the field on Tuesday, Judge had 11 home runs and a .807 OPS in 151 postseason at-bats.
Hitters always face elite pitching in the playoffs, and this is specially true for Judge.
During the current series, Guardians pitchers have been very careful not to throw meatballs in the middle.
The first one he saw, in Game 3 against Triston McKenzie, he sent it over the fence.
The Yankees will probably advance as far as Judge takes them.