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Pirates’ Eric Stout prepared for boos after Aaron Judge walk Vibesbullet

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How do you hit 46,175 New Yorkers in the middle of an eight-run Yankees eighth inning? You walk Aaron Judge.

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The judge’s fourth at-bat on Wednesday night came and went in anticlimactic fashion in the seventh inning, when he was knocked out on the first pitch against him by the Pirates’ Miguel Yajure. The main reason most Yankee Stadium fans stayed was to watch Judge attempt to tie Roger Maris’ American League record of 61 homers.

After this crash, the assumption was that the chase would continue for another night. Then, however, the Yankees came down to the eighth and started knocking. And all of a sudden, Judge – the eighth batter expected to start the inning – arrived at home plate for the fifth time.

Cue the position, the buzz, that anticipation. Who cared about the score, which ended 14-2? The Pirates were the victims of an avalanche, six Yankees runs having already scored in the inning, a man in second and one out. It seemed to be the judge’s moment.

Eric Stout, however, didn’t let that happen. The left-handed reliever said afterwards that he wasn’t thinking about 61, Maris or anything else. But he certainly threw like he was, walking Judge to four pitches that weren’t particularly close to the zone.

Aaron Judge had one last chance to hit the No. 61 on Wednesday, but got a walk instead.
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post
Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Eric Stout throws against New York Yankees Aaron Judge at Yankee Stadium
Eric Stout heard the boos raining down from the Yankee Stadium crowd after his eighth-inning walk from Aaron Judge.
John Angelillo/UPI/Shutterstock

“Change has been good ground for me this season,” Stout said. “I think that was the game plan for the batting game. It doesn’t matter that there’s nobody on it, bases loaded, it doesn’t really matter. I’ve had [Anthony] Rizzo behind him as a southpaw. With an open base, I’m very good against lefties this year. It was more the approach.

Pirates' Eric Stout prepared for boos after Aaron Judge walk

“I won’t give in [on] 2-0, 3-0, throw something at him, whoever it is, especially with a southpaw on deck. So that was the approach.

The crowd reacted accordingly, booing like few crowds have ever booed in the closing stages of a home side blowout.

“Yeah, I kind of thought that was the reaction of the crowd,” Pirates manager Derek Shelton said. “I’ve been to Yankee Stadium many times. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone stay when the score is like this, but you know, there was everyone in the stadium.

Even though the crowd left disappointed that they didn’t witness the story, fans saw Judge double up twice, reach base three times and score twice. After his 60th home run on Tuesday, it added to this assessment of Shelton when asked how his 55-94 ball club handled Judge:

“I mean,” Shelton said, “he hit the only home run. … You have to be able, not only with him, but with the whole lineup, you have to be able to throw.

“We did not do it.”

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