WASHINGTON — Justin Verlander called to Aaron Judge just before he left the dugout to lead off the second inning Tuesday night.
“As I was heading out there, he was like, ‘You’re hitting a homer. So get ready,’ ” Judge said.
The Yankees’ rightfielder was.
Judge, who struck out against Max Scherzer last year in Miami in the first All-Star Game at-bat of his career, took the Nationals ace deep on an 0-and-1 fastball.
It was the start of a barrage in which the teams hit a record 10 homers in the American League’s 8-6 victory in 10 innings at Nationals Park in the 89th All-Star Game.
Astros teammates Alex Bregman and George Springer went back-to-back to start the 10th, part of a three-run inning by the AL that made it 8-5. Joey Votto of the Reds homered to start the bottom of the 10th to make it 8-6.
Through 89 games, the AL leads 44-43-2 and, remarkably, the run total is 369-367 in the AL’s favor.
Judge, batting sixth and starting in left — where he’d never started a big-league game — fouled back a first-pitch fastball. He crushed the next pitch, also a fastball, into the AL bullpen in left-center, where teammate Luis Severino caught it.
“That was the best part, it was meant to be,” Judge said of Severino’s glove work.
Severino, who had just finished warming up when he made the catch, crossed paths with Judge as he came in from the bullpen to pitch the second.
“He said, ‘I caught it for you, man, I got it for you,’ ” said Judge, who became the 10th Yankee to homer in the All-Star Game and the first since Jason Giambi in 2003.
Judge walked on five pitches against Braves righthander Mike Foltynewicz in the fourth and grounded to third in the sixth against Brewers righty Jeremy Jeffress in the sixth.
Severino laughed about the catch, which he had no doubt he’d make.
“I’m a natural outfielder,” Severino said with a laugh.
Severino, who didn’t pitch in the 2017 game at Marlins Park, relieved Chris Sale of the Red Sox to start the second inning. Severino allowed a line-drive double into the leftfield corner by Matt Kemp but struck out hometown hero Bryce Harper on three pitches, the last of those a nasty slider that the Nationals outfielder swung at. Nick Markakis flied to left, where Judge made it 2-for-2 in chances at a position he hadn’t played since seven games in the minors in 2016.
Severino is 14-2 with a 2.31 ERA, with 144 strikeouts in 128 1/3 innings. He struck out Brandon Crawford swinging at a 99-mph fastball.
“That was great,” Severino said. “Just being on that mound, facing those kinds of hitters. It was something special that I will remember.”
The Mets’ Jacob deGrom likely would have gotten the start for the NL had the game been anywhere but the home ballpark of Scherzer. It would have been nearly impossible for deGrom to be as good as he was in 2015 in his first All-Star appearance. That year, in Cincinnati, he became the first pitcher in All-Star history to strike out the side with 10 pitches or fewer.
This time deGrom came on for the third inning and retired the first two hitters, but Angels outfielder Mike Trout ripped a 1-and-2 fastball to left-center for a homer that gave the AL a 2-0 lead. DeGrom, 5-4 but with a remarkable 1.68 ERA at the break, struck out J.D. Martinez swinging at a 99-mph fastball.
“It was fun seeing Sevy do his thing in the All-Star Game,” Judge said.