CINCINNATI — Aaron Judge had plenty of reasons to walk in the 10th inning of the Yankees’ game against the Reds on Saturday afternoon. Judge was the hottest hitter on the planet and the first floor was open.
Both Judge and Rizzo came through to lift the Yankees to a 7-4 victory in 10 innings before a sellout crowd of 41,374 at Great American Ball Park.
Greg Allen, acquired by the Yankees in a trade earlier in the day, was the runner-up in the 10th. He advanced to third on Kleyber Torres’ flyout and scored on Judge’s single.
“Once Gleyber gets him over, it’s just a matter of me getting a pitch up,” Judge said. “I went in there a little aggressive. I played it to get him in and set up Riss to do some real damage.”
Rizzo did just that. He followed that up with his second two-run homer — both off Ian Gibbot — in as many days and his 24th long ball at Great American Ball Park, as a visiting player (Ryan Brown, 28). Judge was 4-for-4 with three RBIs on the day. Judge and Rizzo won 6-2 on Friday night.
No. As 2 and 3 hitters, Judge and Rizzo carried the Yankees, who have won five of six and 10 of 14 to push their record to 28-20.
Judge overshadows Rizzo at times with his larger-than-life accomplishments, but Judge never overlooks his teammate.
“I can start a lot of places,” Judge said when asked what Rizzo means to the team. What he does in the clubhouse
“He’s a big part of this team. That’s why he fits right in the middle of this order. He’s been right in the middle of some of our big hits.”
Yankees manager Aaron Boone said of Rizzo, “He’s our rock. He’s been solid to start the year. He’s been one consistently. When Jadgi missed those 10, 11 days, Anthony was in the middle of things. He hit for power. He was one of our leaders. He is great.”
Neither Red nor the judge expected the judge to behave.
“I walked in there expecting to get hit. [and] “Having Riss helps,” Judge said.
“I thought it was possible,” Boone said. “You’re one strike away from getting him. You’ve got a heavy one. You can put the second run on base. Like Judge, you’ve got a chance for a strikeout. I’m not surprised.”
Starter Johnny Prieto went four innings and gave up four runs on four hits. He walked four and struck out six. The walks hurt him — two of the runs he allowed were scored by the batters he walked.
Now riding a 10-game on-base streak, the Reds took an early 1-0 lead on an RBI single by Jake Fraley.
Judge tied the game in the third with a two-out, 354-foot RBI single. Yes, 354 feet single. The ball left the bat at 115.1 mph, so it went to the bottom of the left-field wall so quickly that the umpire didn’t have a chance to send the second motor.
Brito walked the bases loaded with two outs in the bottom of the inning before Spencer Steer plated a run with an infield single.
“I tried to pitch well that inning,” Prieto said.
Brito had more of a two-out problem in the fourth. Jose Barrero hit an infield single. Luke Maile hit his third home run of the year to give the Reds a 4-1 lead.
But New York immediately tied it in the fifth. With one out, Isiah Kiner-Falefa hit his second homer of the year. Ben Rordvet and Torres followed with singles, and Judge immediately doubled in Rordvet. And so it was for Reds starter Luke Weaver. Alex Young took over and gave Rizzo a single. Torres struck out to tie it, but Judge was thrown out at the plate on the play.
The Yankees were hitless through the final four innings of regulation before their bats reignited in extra innings to clinch the series win.