LOS ANGELES — Yankees star Aaron Judge knocked open the door of the visiting bullpen at Dodger Stadium while making a spectacular running catch in the eighth inning of New York’s 6-3 victory over Los Angeles on Saturday.
Judge might have saved a run for the Yankees with his sprinting catch on J.D. Martinez’s liner into the right field corner with Max Muncy on first base and nobody out. The AL MVP made the catch an instant before running into the bullpen door, which came partly open when he hit it.
“I thought I had a chance off the bat, but you never know,” Judge said. “I knew it was going to be close to the wall there, but luckily I came down with it.”
Judge hung onto the ball and stayed upright while putting one foot in the bullpen, but Muncy was allowed to advance to second because Judge technically left the field of play.
Judge said he wasn’t injured by his latest fearless fielding feat.
“I’m feeling good,” Judge said. “The fence got most of it. Thankfully, it was that part of the wall where it had some give, so I think that saved me quite a bit. If it was a solid wall, it might be a different story, but (I) made the play.”
Yankees manager Aaron Boone briefly argued the umpires’ decision to send Muncy to second, but only after detouring out to right field to check on Judge. Boone had been worried about Judge’s right foot, which kicked the concrete ledge below the swinging door fairly hard.
“When we got halfway out there, he was pushing us back, like, ‘I’m fine, fine,’” Boone said with a grin. “I just ran out and said, ‘I just wanted to tell you what a great catch that was.’”
Boone didn’t mind Judge’s heedless run into the corner for a difficult catch, saying it’s the only way Judge knows how to play. The Yankees were fairly sure the bullpen door had been latched closed, but it wasn’t strong enough to contain Judge.
“Honestly, I feel like it probably softened the blow a little bit,” said Yankees starter Gerrit Cole, who improved to 7-0. “For him to just blow through it, I think it took a little bit of the kinetic energy out of just slamming up against the wall, but it’s still very concerning when such a great player has to go so hard into the wall. He’s got a lot of guts.”
The catch was Judge’s second spectacular fielding play on the Yankees’ West Coast trip. On Monday night in Seattle, Judge leaped at the wall and used every inch of his 6-foot-7 frame to take away a home run from the Mariners’ Teoscar Hernández.
Judge also hit his 19th homer of the season Saturday for the Yankees, putting a 113-mph line drive into the short left-field porch at Chavez Ravine.
“I keep trying to tell myself every now and then to appreciate what we’re watching,” Boone said. “He’s just one of the great players we’ll see, and he does it in so many ways, and he’s the best person.”
The Yankees led the Dodgers 5-3 at the time of Judge’s catch, and reliever Michael King retired the Dodgers’ next two batters. New York eventually closed out its fifth win in seven games, rebounding from an 8-4 loss Friday to open this high-profile interleague series.
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