It was Josh Donaldson’s ground ball in the 10th that gave the Yankees their 16th walk-off win of the season and a playoff spot for the Yankees on Thursday night, but it was Aaron Judge’s long fly ball in the bottom of the ninth that everyone remembers. will keep Donaldson’s grounder to shortstop gave the Yankees a 5–4 victory over the Red Sox, but most of the 43,123 in Yankee Stadium were disappointed.

For the second straight night, Judge did not homer and fell just shy of the American League and Roger Maris’ 1961 Yankee record of 61 in a single season.

“I thought Judge had it with the homer but it was nice to be able to come out for the team,” Donaldson said. “I just keep plugging away and really just trying to put my best foot forward.”

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The judges finally connected at a ball Thursday night. After three walks and a strikeout, the Yankees’ slugger came to the plate in the ninth of a tied game with one out and two pitches to hit. He fouled off the first fastball and then rode the second, another fastball. The crowd, already on its feet for each of his at-bats, screamed as the ball went high and 404 feet deep — into Yankee Stadium’s dead-center field wall. It would have been a record home run in eight other ballparks, but it was just a flyout Thursday night in the Bronx.

The win, the third in a row for the Yankees (91-58), was their 58th playoff appearance in franchise history and their sixth consecutive trip to the playoffs. It also left the Bombers’ magic number to win the American League East at six.

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“A great achievement, it took a lot of hard work over the course of the season to get to this point,” Judge said. “But I think you’d ask anybody in this room and they’d say the job’s not done. Our ultimate goal is to go out there and win our division and really set ourselves up for the postseason, but it It’s step number one and the first of many steps to come, that’s for sure.

Giancarlo Stanton hit his 28th homer of the season and his second in three games. Kyle Higashioka and Harrison Bader both scored on sacrifice fly balls. Jameson Talon held the Red Sox to one run on four hits in six innings. He struck out eight with one walk. Clark Schmidt gave up four runs. A three-run homer to pinch-hitter Reese McGuire and a solo shot to rookie Tristan Casas. Clay Holmes pitched two scoreless innings — assisted by Judge.

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The slugger made a brilliant defensive play in the top of the ninth, playing Tommy Pham’s leadoff ball over the wall in the right field corner and firing to shortstop Isiah Kiner-Falefa to strike out the Red Sox left fielder.

Red Sox manager Alex Cora told reporters that play makes an MVP.

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“I’m just trying to make a play like anybody else,” Judge said. “A lot of respect for those guys over there. So that means a lot.”

The Yankees slugger has hit a major league-leading 60 homers, one shy of the record, as Mars’ family was at the stadium again Thursday night.

He didn’t get to see much action from the judge.

Michael Wacha walked Judge on four pitches to start his night and was booed loudly. In the third inning, Judge drew a seven-pitch walk. In the fifth inning, Wacha needed five pitches to strike out Judge while swinging at a changeup. In the seventh, with a runner on second base, Red Sox right-hander John Schreiber walked Judge on five pitches. His fly ball to Matt Barnes over the center field wall sent the fans only to groan when it came up short.

It was the fourth game this season in which Judge has been walked three times.

Judge also leads the American League with a .316 batting average, just ahead of Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts (.314) and the Twins’ Luis Arraez (.313). With his major league hit of 60 home runs and his MLB-best 128 RBI, Judge became only the third Yankee to win the Triple Crown, joining Lou Gehrig (1934) and Mickey Mantle (1956). The only player to win the Triple Crown in the last 50 years was Miguel Cabrera of the Tigers in 2012.

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