TheYankees' Isiah Kiner-Falefa slides home to score on a single...

TheYankees' Isiah Kiner-Falefa slides home to score on a single by DJ LeMahieu during the fifth inning of a game against the Royals Sunday in Kansas City, Mo. Credit: AP/Charlie Riedel

TORONTO — Aaron Judge’s two home runs, including a 453-foot missile to centerfield in the first inning, captured most of the outside attention from Sunday’s 6-4 comeback victory over the Royals, the Yankees’ ninth straight win.

And not without cause. Judge took an absurd homer hot streak into the three-game series against Toronto that began Monday night, hitting seven of his eight total homers in his previous eight games. He also had 14 RBIs in that span.

But after Sunday’s victory, most of the clubhouse praise was directed toward new shortstop Isiah Kiner-Falefa and his 12-pitch plate appearance, which resulted in a walk to lead off the seventh inning. He scored one of the two runs in the inning that gave the Yankees a 5-4 lead before Judge’s ninth-inning homer made it 6-4.

“That’s the at-bat that sparked it all,” Aaron Boone said.

Kiner-Falefa fouled off six straight two-strike pitches from Royals righthander Dylan Coleman.

“I just wanted to battle. I just wanted to put up a scrappy at-bat,” Kiner-Falefa said. “I was late on the fastball, but I just stayed with my plan and it ended up working out.”

Kiner-Falefa also was in the middle of the Yankees’ initial rally from the 4-1 deficit they faced after four innings. In the fifth, he doubled home Miguel Andujar to make it 4-2 and scored on DJ LeMahieu’s single.

“I feel like every run we scored today, he was a big part of it,” Judge said. “From that [12-pitch] at-bat, to the RBI double . . . but I’ve been really impressed with him. Having a guy like that near the bottom of the order to kind of turn it over and get to the top of the lineup has been huge for us.”

The season did not start that way for Kiner-Falefa, who was acquired from the Twins during spring training.

He grew up in Hawaii as a Yankees fan and proclaimed “this is where I want to be” more than once on his first day at Steinbrenner Field after the trade, but he started the season 1-for-17 and struggled in the field.

Kiner-Falefa acknowledged perhaps being a bit “scared” and “timid” in his early-season approach, but it quickly changed.

His defense soon came around — which was expected, as he is a former Gold Glove winner at third base in 2020 and his marks at shortstop from rival scouts have always been high — and the bat followed.

After the 1-for-17 start, Kiner-Falefa hit .388 (19-for-49) with a .418 on-base percentage in his next 15 games. Entering Monday night, he was hitting .303 with a .342 on-base percentage, having reached base in 13 straight games.

“He’s a good player and he knows he’s a good player,” Boone said recently. “I’m sure he didn’t want to start out 1-for-17, but I don’t think he really flinched. I think he has a lot of confidence in himself.

“It probably took him a minute to get settled getting over here, but I think a lot of it has to do with he’s confident in his ability, and this is what he’s capable of.”

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