NEW YORK — Aaron Judge hit his third walk-off homer this year, his major league-leading 39th home run of the season, to lift the New York Yankees over the Kansas City Royals 1-0 Thursday night.
New York was held to one hit before Judge drove a first-pitch fastball from Scott Barlow (4-3) into the Kansas City bullpen with one out in the ninth, a 431-foot drive that gave the Yankees their 12th walk-off win this season.
Judge sent the crowd of 43,836 into a frenzy, joining Mickey Mantle as the only Yankees with three walk-off home runs in one season. Tommy Henrich had two in 1949 plus another off Brooklyn’s Don Newcombe in the World Series opener.
Barlow walked off with his head down as Judge’s teammates mobbed him at home plate.
Judge had never hit a big league walk-off homer before May 10 against Toronto’s Jordan Romano, then hit another on June 26 off Houston’s Seth Martinez.
New York had not won a 1-0 game on a walk-off homer since Ruben Sierra connected off the Blue Jays’ Vinnie Chulk on April 22, 2004.
Judge had been 0 for 2 with a pair of strikeouts and a walk before the homer. He also stole his 10th base, a career high.
Andrew Benintendi went 0 for 4 with one strikeouts in his Yankees debut, facing Kansas City one day after the Royals dealt him to New York for three minor league pitchers.
Clay Holmes (5-1) worked around two walks in a hitless ninth, combining on a four-hitter with Jameson Taillon and Ron Marinaccio.
New York has an AL-best 67-33 record but had lost 10 of its previous 15 games, getting swept this week in a two-game Subway Series at the NL East-leading Mets and losing both games of a doubleheader last week at AL West-leading Houston.
Taillon struck out a season-high eight and allowed four hits in six innings. Rookie Ron Marinaccio got six outs with two hitless innings and has not allowed a run in 19 innings. Batters are 1 for 57 against him in that span.
Brady Singer allowed one hit in seven innings, a two-out single in the fourth by Gleyber Torres. Kansas City, last in the AL Centrl, dropped to 39-60.
NOT SO FAST
With a 2-2 count in the sixth inning, Judge looked at ball three. MJ Melendez apparently thought the pitch was a strike, emphatically firing the ball down to third base. Judge remained in the box while plate umpire Ramon De Jesus informed the rookie catcher he was mistaken, but Singer fanned Judge swinging on the next pitch.
CHEERS FOR BUCK
The Yankees paid tribute to the late Buck O’Neil prior to the game Public address announcer Paul Olden reading the Kansas City legend’s many accomplishments followed by a touching tribute video shown on the center field scoreboard. A two-time All-Star first baseman in the Negro Leagues and the first Black coach in the National or American leagues, O’Neil played a key role in Kansas City Monarchs championships as both a player and manager. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame on Sunday.
Royals: Recalled SS Maikel Garcia from Double-A Northwest Arkansas.
Yankees: Optioned OF Tim Locastro to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Royals: SS Bobby Witt Jr. (hamstring) took batting practice and fielded ground balls. He has missed four straight games. … C Salvador Perez (left thumb) continued his rehab assignment with Triple-A Omaha, going 0 for 1 with a walk as the designated hitter. “He’s getting close,” Kansas City manager Mike Matheny said.
Yankees: RHP Luis Severino (strained right lat) could start throwing soon. A decision on whether or not he’s ready to do so is expected either Thursday or Friday, according to manager Aaron Boone. … INF DJ LeMahieu was given a day off.
Royals: LHP Kris Bubic (2-6, 5.53 ERA) has allowed just two earned runs in 14 innings over his past two starts.
Yankees: RHP Gerrit Cole (9-3, 3.09 ERA) makes his seventh start against Kansas City. The five-time All-Star has a 2.04 ERA over 39 2/3 innings in their previous encounters.