TheYankees' Aaron Judge gestures from second base after his double...

TheYankees' Aaron Judge gestures from second base after his double against the Pirates during the fifth inning of an MLB game at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Aaron Judge hammered the second of his two doubles to left in the fifth inning of Wednesday night’s 14-2 Yankees victory over the Pirates.

The sellout crowd of 46,175 — who came to Yankee Stadium hoping to see Judge tie Roger Maris’ 61-year-old American League and Yankees record of 61 home runs set in 1961 — groaned in disappointment when the ball hopped over the fence just inside the foul pole for a ground-rule double.

Those folks wanted to see Judge hit one over the fence on the fly.

“The fans packed it out,” Judge said. “They want to see us win a ballgame and see some homers. I think I’ve got to cut out this doubles stuff.”

Judge ended up going 2-for-4 with a walk as the Yankees moved closer to clinching a playoff spot behind an impressive return start from Luis Severino, a grand slam and five RBIs from rookie Oswaldo Cabrera, and two home runs (both in the eighth inning) and five RBIs from Gleyber Torres.

Judge received one unexpected final plate appearance in the eighth. He was due up eighth at the start of the inning, but six of the first seven Yankees batters reached base and Judge came up against 29-year-old rookie lefthander Eric Stout.

But Stout walked Judge on four pitches, none of them close, as the crowd hooted in protest. Judge was replaced at first base by pinch runner Tim Locastro and history was officially on hold.

“He was making some competitive pitches,” Judge said. “He’s got a great changeup/slider combo, so he’s kind of working those off the edges to see if I would get a little aggressive and swing. But I had a plan, stuck to my plan, didn’t get anything I wanted. You take your walk.”

The chase for 61 will continue on Thursday night when the Boston Red Sox come to town for the first of a four-game series. Judge is 0-for-14 lifetime with nine strikeouts against Thursday’s Red Sox starter Michael Wacha, the former Mets righthander who is 11-1 with a 2.61 ERA.

Going into Wednesday, the Yankees needed to win and have the Orioles and White Sox both lose to punch their ticket to October. But Baltimore beat Detroit to keep the Yankees’ celebration on hold.

Severino pitched five sparkling innings after what he felt was an unnecessarily long stay on the 60-day injured list for what the Yankees called a “low grade” lat strain.

Severino (6-3, 3.36 ERA) didn’t allow a hit until one out in the fourth inning. He finished having given up one run and two hits with one walk and six strikeouts in a 64-pitch effort.

Manager Aaron Boone said he thought Severino had his best fastball of the season.

Said Severino: “Of course. I’ve had 60-something days to rest.”

The Yankees did hit three home runs: Cabrera crushed his first career grand slam in the first inning for a 4-0 Yankees lead and Torres hit a solo shot and a three-run homer after Judge walked in the Yankees’ crazy eight-run eighth.

Torres, who has 23 homers, went 3-for-4 with five RBIs.

On Tuesday, Judge hit his 60th in the ninth inning of the Yankees’ 9-8 victory and tied Babe Ruth (60 home runs in 1927) and moved to within one of Maris.

With Maris’ mark in sight on Wednesday and a contingent of the late slugger’s family members in the building, Judge lined the first pitch he saw into the leftfield corner for a leadoff double in the first.

That hit came on 96-mile per hour fastball from 22-year-old Pirates rookie righthander Roansy Contreras, a former Yankees prospect who was traded to Pittsburgh in 2021 in the Jameson Taillon deal.

Judge scored five batters later on Cabrera’s third career home run, a long shot to right.

Judge came to bat again with one out in the second inning and struck out swinging on a 1-and-2 slider.

In the fifth, Judge hammered a hanging 83-mile-per-hour slider down the leftfield line for a ground-rule double. The ball bounced into the stands just inside the foul pole and hit a television camera before dropping to the ground.

“On the second double, I didn’t know if it was foul,” Judge said. “I didn’t know what was going on.”

Judge scored two batters later on Torres’ single. Josh Donaldson added a two-out RBI double to make it 6-1.

Judge’s next at-bat came in the seventh against another rookie righthander, 24-year-old Miguel Yajure, who pitched in three games for the 2020 Yankees and was also part of the Taillon trade.

Judge again swung at the first pitch and hit a squibber to first.

More Yankees headlines


Unlimited Digital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months