WASHINGTON — Aaron Judge had no trouble recalling his first time around in an All-Star Game against Max Scherzer.
“I got a chance to face him last year and he got me,” Judge said Monday. “Hopefully, I get a chance to bat against him again and maybe put something in play this time. We’ll see.”
What everyone saw was what Yankees fans have gotten used to when it comes to Judge: another home run.
Judge, who struck out against Scherzer last year in Miami, took the Nationals ace righthander deep on a fastball to lead off the second inning Tuesday night, giving the American League a 1-0 lead in the 89th All-Star Game.
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.
Judge, who went 0-for-3 in last year’s game, became the 10th Yankee to homer in the All-Star Game and the first since Jason Giambi did it in 2003.
Judge walked on five pitches against Braves righthander Mike Foltynewicz in the fourth and grounded to third in the sixth.
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 easily retired the first two hitters, but Angels all-world 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.
For Severino, the night automatically was an upgrade of his experience the previous year, when he waited in the bullpen for a call that never came. The AL won in 10 innings, and Severino would have gotten in had the game gone to an 11th.
“I’m really excited,” Severino said a few hours before Tuesday’s game. “I wanted to pitch, I wanted to be part of the game. This year I think’s going to be different.”
For Judge as well. In Miami, of course, Judge electrified fans, at home and watching on television, in winning the Home Run Derby that Monday night, hitting four balls that surpassed 500 feet. The game was something different as he struck out, grounded out and flied out.
“I saw it in the air, I didn’t know it was him,” Severino said of catching Judge’s homer. “After I caught it, I saw he was running. It was cool. He didn’t get a hit last year. This year, first hit a homer.”
STARS & PINSTRIPES
Yankees who homered in the All-Star Game:
Babe Ruth 1933
Lou Gehrig 1936, 1937
Joe DiMaggio 1939
Charlie Keller 1946
Mickey Mantle 1955, 1956
Yogi Berra 1959
Derek Jeter 2001
Alfonso Soriano 2002
Jason Giambi 2003
Aaron Judge 2018