New York slugger Aaron Judge remained stuck at 60 home runs for the season on Sunday as the Yankees capped their homestand with a rain-shortened 2-0 victory over the Boston Red Sox.
Judge, chasing Roger Maris’s American League record of 61 home runs in a season, was one-for-two with a double and a walk.
The Yankee Stadium sellout crowd of 46,707, hanging on every Judge at-bat in hopes of seeing him tie and perhaps surpass Maris’s iconic mark, set in 1961, finally went home disappointed.
It was already raining steadily when officials decided to halt the game and cover the infield at 9:15, with the Yankees leading 2-0 through six innings.
With Judge due to lead off the bottom of the seventh inning for the Yankees, plenty of people stayed on hoping the game would resume.
But with thunderstorms lingering and the Yankees due to play in Toronto on Monday, officials eventually called the game, which goes in the books as official having gone beyond five innings.
The Yankees need just one win to clinch the American League East division title.
However, Judge has now gone five games without a homer, since hitting his 60th of the season on Tuesday in a 9-8 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.
In anticipation of No. 61, Maris’s children have been attending games at Yankee Stadium hoping to be on hand for the event.
Maris’s mark was the Major League Baseball record when he set it, breaking the mark of 60 Babe Ruth established in 1927.
Barry Bonds now holds the MLB single-season home run record of 73, set in 2001, but Maris’s is still the leading number in the American League.
Only Bonds, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa have hit more homers in a single season, but for some fans, their exploits will always carry the taint of MLB’s “steroids era.”
The Yankees are now heading out on the road, but home fans might not want to give up hope of seeing Judge break Maris’s mark.
He is without a homer in his last eight games against the Blue Jays, and has homered against them at Rogers Centre just once this season.
Judge could also get a day off in Toronto, Yankees manager Aaron Boone indicated.
“I’ll work closely with him on what’s the best path forward for him and for us,” Boone said. “We have those conversations all the time.”
The Yankees will play three home games against the Baltimore Orioles starting on Friday before ending the regular season on the road.
Chasing the 61-homer milestone has ramped up the pressure on Judge.
Red Sox manager Alex Cora noted that earlier in this week’s series he’d heard Yankees fans hoping the Red Sox would score late in games just to ensure Judge would have another at-bat.
“He manages it so well,” Boone said of Judge. “He’s focused on two things: being a great teammate and winning.”
Judge is also in the hunt for a rare Triple Crown — leading the league in homers, batting average and runs-batted-in.
Judge comfortably leads the American League in two categories with his 60 homers and 128 runs-batted-in. Through Sunday’s games his .3143 batting average is just a tick higher than the .3138 of Boston’s Xander Bogaerts.
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