Aaron Judge's walk-off walk gives Yankees sweep of White Sox
Jameson Taillon threw five scoreless innings against the White Sox on Sunday to continue the Yankees’ run of shutout ball by their starting pitchers. It stands at 35 going into Corey Kluber’s first outing after his no-hitter, which will come on Tuesday against Toronto.
The only problem: Four innings remained after Taillon departed a tight game. The Yankees’ bullpen allowed three home runs and the White Sox, who had trailed since the first inning, tied the score in the ninth on pinch hitter Andrew Vaughn’s 432-foot solo shot to right-center off Aroldis Chapman.
But all was well that ended well for the Yankees as Aaron Judge drew a bases-loaded walk with one out in the bottom of the ninth for a 5-4 victory in front of 14,007 at Yankee Stadium.
"We’ll take it," Judge said after the Yankees’ second walk-off victory in three days and fourth in their last five home games. "I’m not complaining one bit."
It was the first walk-off RBI of Judge’s big-league career.
"I’ve got quite a few [in the minors]," he said. "I got probably a couple in High-A. A walk-off homer in Double-A. Quite a few. I’ve got to get the ball. I think that was my first walk walk-off. I haven’t done that yet, so I’ll keep that ball for sure."
Clint Frazier, who hadn’t started since Monday because of an unexplained neck issue, opened the ninth against lefthander Aaron Bummer with his third single of the day. Frazier stole second — his second steal of the day — as Brett Gardner struck out.
DJ LeMahieu was intentionally walked to bring up Tyler Wade, who had taken Luke Voit’s lineup spot when he came in for defense in the eighth with the Yankees holding a 4-3 lead.
Wade hit a slow roller to second and beat Nick Madrigal's throw for a single to load the bases and bring up Judge.
White Sox closer Liam Hendricks replaced Bummer and Judge couldn't hold up on his first pitch, taking an awkward swing at a 97-mph fastball that was high and inside. He didn’t offer at the next four, which was smart because none of them were close to the strike zone, including the game-ending 96-mph way-high fastball.
Asked what he was thinking going into the plate appearance, Judge said: "Win it. Any way possible."
The Yankees (28-19) won a season-high sixth in a row and have gone 17-5 in their last 22 games and 22-8 in their last 30. They also improved to 2-6 when they had a chance to sweep a series and moved within a half-game of the AL East-leading Red Sox and Rays.
Seems like a long time ago when the Yankees started 5-10.
"I think it goes to show that early in the season a lot of people were panicking, but we weren’t," Frazier said. "And there’s a reason why and this series and the last — I don’t know how many we’ve won in a row — are a great example of what this team is capable of. Sometimes you’ve just got to be patient and you get the results that we’re getting right now."
Chapman (4-0), who ended up the winning pitcher, had converted his first 11 save chances and had not allowed an earned run in 18 innings in 2021. He had induced Vaughn to ground into a triple play on Friday, but the rookie avenged that ignominious moment.
Boone lifted Taillon to start the sixth after 80 pitches with the Yankees leading 3-0. He allowed two hits, walked two, struck out four and lowered his ERA to 5.06. He also kept the line of great starting pitching moving along.
"I didn’t feel any pressure," Taillon said. "But I was aware of what they had done that turn through the rotation. If anything, it just lets me know that everything we’re doing and everything we’re working on . . . is right."
Jose Abreu tagged Wandy Peralta for a 450-foot two-run homer in the sixth to make it 3-2.
After the Yankees added a run in the bottom half on a throwing error by shortstop Tim Anderson, Chad Green gave up a solo homer by Yasmani Grandal in the seventh to bring the AL Central-leading White Sox back to within a run.
The Yankees took a 2-0 lead in the first on Gleyber Torres’ two-out, two-run single off Dallas Keuchel. The runs were unearned because of an error by Keuchel, a four-time Gold Glove winner.
The Yankees made it 3-0 in the fifth on Gio Urshela’s double-play grounder with the bases loaded and none out.