BOSTON — For the first time since Aug. 8, the Yankees had both Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton in the lineup together, with both sluggers having recovered from leg injuries.
With lefty Martin Perez on the mound, manager Aaron Boone opted to put Judge in his customary No. 2 spot, with Stanton right behind him, hitting third. It’s the first time Stanton hadn’t hit cleanup all season.
Neither had a hit until the eighth, when Judge singled and scored on Stanton’s double in the 6-5, 12-inning win over Boston.
Judge struck out with Clint Frazier at third with one out in the 10th and had a scare on a play down the right field line, but Boone thought he was OK. And he was pleased to have them back with a week left in the regular season.
“It’s great,’’ Boone said before the game. “Obviously, getting those guys back here as we ramp up and getting [them] at-bats and hopefully finding their timing and rhythm.”
Though the offense had thrived recently, their absence had been felt while they were out.
“It’s significant to see those guys in the middle of the lineup,’’ Brett Gardner saidof Judge and Stanton. “It’s not just what they do on the field, they make the whole lineup tough to navigate.Both guys are very important to us having success. We have to do our best to keep them healthy.”
Luke Voit entered Friday night leading the majors with 20 homers in what Boone called an “MVP season.”
“I just think you’re seeing the growth of a really good hitter that’s gone to another level and now having an MVP season,’’ Boone said before Voit had an RBI single in the win. “It’s hard to imagine where we’d be without Luke Voit and it’s good to see him starting to find his way into the MVP conversation.”
The Red Sox had tied the game and had the winning run at third in the 11th when Jonathan Loaisiga fell behind J.D. Martinez 2-0. Gary Sanchez went to the mound and Loaisiga responded by fanning Martinez and getting Christian Vazquez to prolong the game.
“He had a rocky start, but he kept making pitches,’’ Boone said of the right-hander. “He’s gonna play an important role for us if we’re gonna get deep into this thing. It’s not always gonna go perfect. He continued to battle. It was a huge performance.”
The Yankees have J.A. Happ starting Saturday and Deivi Garcia on Sunday. How they line up their rotation for the final week of the regular season is still to be determined, as Boone has made it clear that Gerrit Cole and Masahiro Tanaka will start the first two games of the wild card series.
“We’re having those conversations now and we’re working through that,’’ Boone said of how they will work their way through the final two series of the year.
Boone left open the possibility that Cole and Tanaka could have throw days instead of pitching in a game in order to be able to control their workloads.
“We’re getting close to [making decisions],’’ Boone said. “Some things can remain a little fluid through the week, as we’re hopefully fighting 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 fans, they would prefer to play at home than on the road in the postseason.
“We certainly want to play at home,’’ Boone said. “We feel we have a home field advantage. Obviously, it’s a little bit different because of the crowd, but in a lot of ways, teams are built for their home ballpark.”
In addition to what they might gain on the field, Boone said the fact they’ve grown accustomed to playing there during this altered season also plays a factor.
“It’s home,’’ Boone said. “It’s our clubhouse, our facility, video [room] and [batting] cage and weight room. We know the set up and where to go eat and the protocols. It’s certainly something that provides little comforts of home. Whatever advantage there is to that, how do you really know? There is some comfort level in that.”
But he added, “We certainly feel like wherever we end up, whether it’s Yankee Stadium or on the road, we’ll take our chances.”
Gleyber Torres was back in the lineup for a second straight game after battling a tight left quad. Boone said he expected both Torres and Gio Urshela — just off the IL with a bone spur in his elbow — would get a day off at some point this weekend.
The Yankees made their first trip to Fenway this season and Gardner said it was especially strange to not have fans in attendance.
“I thought about it at batting practice,’’ Gardner said. “Usually you hear the gates open and fans come in. It’s still pretty quiet out there [during BP]. It’s no different than anywhere else we’ve been [this year], but this is a special place to play. I always enjoy it. What makes it special is the fans and the passion they have for the game and the atmosphere they create. We’ll miss that this weekend.”
New York Post
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