CINCINNATI (AP) — Aaron Judge hit his seventh home run in as many games and the New York Yankees defeated the Cincinnati Reds 6-2 on Friday night.
Anthony Rizzo also homered for the surging Yankees, who improved to 9-3 in their last 12 games.
Judge, who received a standing ovation from the many Yankees fans in attendance following his pregame batting session, wasted little time making his presence felt in the teams’ first meeting in Cincinnati since 2017. The reigning AL MVP took the fifth pitch he saw from Reds starter Ben Lively 431 feet to center field for his 13th home run of the season.
It was Judge’s only hit of the night, but he has homered in five of the last seven games — including hitting two in two games during that stretch.
With New York still leading 1-0 lead before the bottom half of the fifth inning, all four umpires administered a foreign substance check on Yankees starter Clarke Schmidt (2-4). The umpires allowed Schmidt to stay on the mound after he appeared to clean off his glove hand.
But Reds manager David Bell was ejected while disputing the umpires’ decision to allow Schmidt to continue his scoreless outing. Cincinnati had just three hits off Schmidt at that point.
Yankees pitcher Domingo Germán was suspended for 10 games Wednesday by Major League Baseball and fined for violating the sport’s prohibition of foreign substances on the mound.
Lively (1-2) was pulled in the sixth after walking Judge on six pitches. Lively allowed just two hits, including Judge’s first-inning home run, while compiling a career-high eight strikeouts as the Red lost for the fourth time in five games.
Following Lively’s exit, Rizzo tagged Reds reliever Ian Gibaut with his 10th homer of the season to score Judge and make it 3-0.
Cincinnati finally found some rhythm against Schmidt in the bottom half of the sixth on a single by Jonathan India and a double by Matt McLain in back-to-back plate appearances. Schmidt was then pulled in favor of Jimmy Cordero.
Jake Fraley drove in both India and McLain on a double off Cordero to chop New York’s lead to 3-2. Henry Ramos struck out, ending the inning and stranding runners on second and third.
The Yankees added three runs in the ninth, including a two-run double by Kyle Higashioka.
Yankees manager Aaron Boone said before the game he got emotional during the drive to the ballpark.
Boone, who made his big league debut with the Reds in 1997, returned to Cincinnati for the first time as a manager. It was also Boone’s first visit to the city since the All-Star Game weekend in 2015 when he was an analyst for ESPN.
“This place was a huge, huge part of my life,” Boone said. It will forever be a in my heart and a special place to me. Every time I get to come here, it means a lot to me.”
Boone played for the Reds until he was traded to the Yankees in 2003. Boone’s older brother, Bret, also played in Cincinnati from 1994-98. Their father, Bob, was the Reds’ manager from 2001-03.
Reds: OF TJ Friedl (mild oblique strain) took some swings and ran before the game. Bell said Friedl has not shown any symptoms of the left oblique strain since being diagnosed with the injury on May 13. Cincinnati placed Friedl on the 10-day injured list on Monday.
The Yankees announced after the game they acquired OF Greg Allen from Boston Red Sox for minor league RHP Diego Hernández and cash considerations.
It’s the second stint with the Yankees for the 30-year-old Allen, who played in New York in 2021. He also has played with Cleveland, San Diego and Pittsburgh during his six big league seasons.
Reds RHP Luke Weaver (1-2, 6.26 ERA) is scheduled to get the ball Saturday in the second game of the three-game series. The Yankees had yet to announce their starting pitcher.
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