BOSTON – For the first time since Aug. 8, the Yankees had both Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton in line together, with the two sluggers recovering from leg injuries.
With lefty Martin Perez on the mound, manager Aaron Boone chose to put the Judge in his usual No. 2 spot, with Stanton just behind him, hitting the third. It’s the first time Stanton hasn’t touched police all season.
No one was successful until the eighth, when the Judge picked and scored on Stanton’s double in the 6-5, 12-inning win over Boston.
Judge met Clint Frazier in the third with one in 10 and had a scare on a game on the right field line, but Boone thought it was okay. And he was happy to be back with a week left in the regular season.
“It’s great,” Boone said before the game. “Obviously, get those guys here when we’re ramping up and getting [them] to the beats and hoping to find their time and their rhythm ”.
Although the offense had prospered recently, their absence had been felt while they were out.
“It’s significant to see those guys in the middle of the line,” said Brett Gardner of Judge and Stanton. “It’s not just what they do on the field, they make the whole line hard to navigate. The two guys are very important to us that we have success. We will do our best to keep them in good health.”
Luke Voit came in Friday night to lead the majors with 20 homers in what Boone called a “season MVP.”
“I just think you see the growth of a great hitter who has gone to another level and who now has an MVP season,” Boone said before Voit had an RBI single in the win. “It’s hard to imagine where we’ll be without Luke Voit and it’s good to see him start to find his way into the MVP conversation.”
The Red Sox had tied the game and had the victory in the third on the 11th when Jonathan Loaisiga fell behind JD Martinez 2-0. Gary Sanchez went to the mound and Loaisiga responded by beating Martinez and getting Christian Vazquez to lengthen the game.
“He had a rocky start, but he continued to make pitches,” Boone said of the right. “He will play an important role for us if we are to delve into this thing. It will not always go perfectly. He will continue to battle. It has been a great show.”
The Yankees have JA Happ starting Saturday and Deivi Garcia Sunday. How to line up his rotation for the final week of the regular season is yet to be determined, as Boone has hinted that Gerrit Cole and Masahiro Tanaka will start the first two games of the wild card series.
“We have this conversation right now and we’re working on it,” Boone said of how they’ve worked their way through the last two series of the year.
Boone left open the possibility that Cole and Tanaka could throw days instead of throwing in a game so they could control their workloads.
“We are getting closer.” [making decisions]”Boone said.“ Some things can stay a little fluid during the week, as we hope we fight for positions and home field. It’s a situation that could continue to evolve. ”
With the Yankees ’success in the Bronx this season, Boone said that even without a fan, they would rather play at home than on the road in the postseason.
“We definitely want to play at home,” Boone said. “We think we have an advantage on the home field. Obviously, it’s a little different because of the crowd, but in many ways, teams are built for their home stadium.”
In addition to what they could gain on the field, Boone said the fact that they are used to playing there during this modified season also plays a factor.
“He’s home,” Boone said. “It’s our club house, our structure, video [room] and [batting] cage and weight room. We know the installation and where to go to eat and the protocols. It is certainly something that provides little home comfort. Whatever the advantage in this, how do you really know? There is a certain level of comfort in that. ”
But he added: “We’re definitely like where we’re going to end up, whether it’s at Yankee Stadium or the road, we’re going to take our chances.”
Gleyber Torres was back in the running for a second straight game after battling a tight left-footed quad. Boone said he was expecting both Torres and Gio Urshela – just out of the IL with a bone spur in his calf – to have a day off at some point this weekend.
The Yankees have made their first trip to Fenway this season and Gardner said it was particularly strange not to have fanatics.
“I thought about the batting practice,” Gardner said. “You usually hear the doors open and the fans come in. It’s always pretty quiet outside [during BP]. It is no different than elsewhere where we have been [this year], but this is a special place to play. I always like it. What makes them special are the fans and the passion they have for the game and the atmosphere they create. We will be missing this weekend. “