Aaron Judge believes 'this team’s different' after Yankees' latest ninth-inning heroics

Down two runs and down to their final three outs on Sunday in San Francisco, the Yankees had the bottom two hitters in the order leading off the ninth inning against the Giants hard-throwing closer Camilo Doval.

“Everybody in that dugout is thinking we’re gonna do something, we’re gonna do damage,” Juan Soto said after the game. “We all know how capable we are to make damage, so we always stay positive.

“… Everybody is like right there, always thinking positive, always think we can do it.”

Four batters later, the two-run hole was a one-run lead when Soto smacked his second home run of the day and notched the game-winning RBI in New York’s 7-5 win, giving them an MLB-best 42-19 record.

“Those are some big-time, big-time ABs in a comeback scenario,” manager Aaron Boone said after the 7-5 win.

With one out and a runner on first, Anthony Volpe tripled to bring the Yanks within a run, injecting a lot of energy into the team. But Boone said it was the runner on first – catcher Jose Trevino who hustled down the first base line to beat out a double-play ball erasing Gleyber Torres’ leadoff single – that may have been the catalyst for the big inning.

“There’s always that belief, but I think everyone was kinda fired up when Trevy frankly beat out the ball, like, ‘Ok, we got a chance we’re gonna get our big boys up there potentially,” the manager said. “And then boom, Volp sticks that one in the gap.”

Soto said, “It takes every little thing to put together an inning like that,” and it started with the catcher’s hustle play.

“Trevino did a huge thing when he ran down that ground ball and beat it out,” he said. “That was huge.”

For Trevino, “It’s just effort and playing for the guys in this clubhouse, it’s plain and simple. The ball leaves my bat and I’m running as hard as I can to first base.”

With Trevino on first base for Volpe – who called the hustle play a “huge energy boost” –  the manager said he was thinking about sending in a pinch runner, even though the catcher didn’t represent the tying run.

After Volpe’s liner headed for “Triples Alley,” the manager was left pondering his decision, thinking, “Please, come on Trevy! Come on Trevy!” he said, breaking into a wide grin.

“I hesitated just a little to see if it was gonna get down, but once I knew that it was getting down I kicked it into the fastest gear that I have,” Trevino said, failing to contain a laugh.

New York Yankees shortstop Anthony Volpe (left) reacts after hitting a triple as San Francisco Giants third baseman Matt Chapman (26) applies a late tag during the ninth inning at Oracle Park.New York Yankees shortstop Anthony Volpe (left) reacts after hitting a triple as San Francisco Giants third baseman Matt Chapman (26) applies a late tag during the ninth inning at Oracle Park.

But the deficit was still one. And with a runner on third and one out, Soto said he was just thinking about getting the ball in the air to score Volpe on a sacrifice fly. But Doval left a 97.6 mph cutter out and over the plate and paid the price.

“He leave me one right down the middle,” Soto said of the 1-0 pitch he clocked 108.2 mph off the bat and 398 feet to right field to put the Yankees ahead for good.

“That’s what he does,” Aaron Judge said. “We’ve been seeing it all year long.”

Boone said, “That’s some savage at-bats there.”

For Soto, the late homer was his 17th on the season after his 430-foot first-inning solo homer. With his 3-for-5 afternoon, the 25-year-old saw his OPS rise to 1.031 on the year, the second highest in baseball. Of course, only behind Judge’s 1.075.

“He’s just unbelievable,” Soto said of his outfield counterpart. “Every time he hit the ball it’s just a double, a homer. It’s just incredible what he’s been doing. And I’m more than excited to keep doing it with him.”

Judge, who walked in the ninth and stole a base before coming around to score on a Giancarlo Stanton ground-rule double in the ninth, finished the series in San Francisco 6-for-9 with three home runs, six RBI and three walks.

Clay Holmes got the Giants in order in the ninth to secure the win and the weekend sweep.

After the mettle showed in their late Sunday comeback, Judge is calling the 2024 squad one of the best he’s played on.

“I can go back over the years how many [times] we probably lose that game, teams bring in their closer up two runs and kinda go 1-2-3,” the ninth-year Yank said. “This team’s different. They went up there with the mentality that ‘Hey, we’re still in this ballgame, just gotta get the first guy on and see what happens.’”

Trevino, playing his third season in pinstripes, agreed with the team’s captain.

“It’s different, it’s different,” the catcher said. “We’re playing for each other, not to say that we haven’t in the past, but this year we’re playing for the guy next to us, the guy in uniform.

“We’re playing for everybody on this roster. We just want it.”

Soto added: “We just having fun, that’s all I can tell you. We’re all having fun.”

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