Yankees RF Aaron Judge produced with a strong performance at the plate Wednesday, but New York dropped a 5-4 game against the Toronto Blue Jays at TD Ballpark in Dunedin, Fla., keeping a recurring theme going for the Bronx Bombers.
As a third series loss in the 2021 season’s first four sets sees the Yankees sink to a 5-7 record, Judge answered honestly about New York’s sense of urgency entering a three-game matchup with the Tampa Bay Rays from Friday through Sunday at Yankee Stadium.
“I think, after any loss, it’s frustrating,” said Judge, who went 2 for 4 with two home runs — both solo shots — and as many RBI. “I don’t think anybody in here is happy, especially even after the first series. Whether it’s Game 12 or Game 150, if we take a loss, that’s personal. And that’s something we take a lot of pride in — our craft and what we do, and showing up ready to play and showing up ready to win, and just haven’t been able to get it done lately. And it’s just time to regroup and figure out what we need to work on, what guys need to improve on and get back to it.”
Judge seemingly set the tone with a first-inning homer to left field, but the Blue Jays (6-6) responded on a pair of long balls off Yankees RHP Corey Kluber (0-1, 5.68 ERA) and took a 3-1 lead entering the fourth frame. A second blast to center field in the fourth inning brought the Yankees within a run at 3-2 before a two-RBI single by 3B Gio Urshela put New York ahead 4-3 against Toronto.
The Blue Jays won on a walk-off home run by Bo Bichette in the bottom of the ninth and sent the Yankees home with a three-game series loss. Given the Yankees’ ongoing struggles against the Rays, most recently including a best-of-three defeat this past Friday through Sunday, a pivotal rematch approaches.
“It’s the little things,” Judge said. “I look back to either baserunning mistakes, mistakes in the outfield, not coming up with just a clutch hit, taking our singles when we can. So there’s a bunch of things, even me personally, a couple things I need to work on to kind of help put this team in a better position to come out with a better outcome — especially with a tough team like Tampa, who’s going to give us our best.”