NEW YORK: From one MVP to another — take that!
Aaron Judge robbed Shohei Ohtani of a home run Wednesday (Thursday in Manila), leaping above the center-field fence at Yankee Stadium to keep the ball in the park before snatching it on the way down with his bare hand.
With one out in the top of the first inning, Ohtani sent a high fly to deep center against New York Yankees rookie pitcher Jhony Brito. The 6-foot-7 Judge went back to the wall and jumped, a little to the right of the 408-foot sign in front of Monument Park.
The ball hit the heel of Judge's glove well above the fence and caromed softly back toward the warning track. As he landed on his feet, Judge stuck out his right hand and made the catch — a snapshot play headed for the highlight reels in this three-game series featuring several of baseball's biggest stars.
Last year's AL MVP paused a moment and smiled wide as he tossed the ball in.
To top it off, Judge launched a two-run shot into the left-center bullpen in the bottom of the first off Los Angeles Angels starter Griffin Canning for his sixth homer this season. The slugger hit 62 last year, breaking the American League record.
In the series opener Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila), Ohtani hit a two-run homer in the first inning, sending the Angels on their way to a 5-2 victory. The two-way superstar won the 2021 AL MVP award before finishing runner-up to Judge last year.
Judge also saved the go-ahead run with a diving grab in the eighth inning, and the Yankees evened this star-studded series with a 3-2 victory after dropping the opener.
Gio Urshela tied it 2-all for the Angels in the eighth with a two-out RBI single against his former team — one pitch after Wandy Peralta balked Hunter Renfroe to second base.
Brandon Drury followed with a slicing drive to deep right-center that would have knocked in the go-ahead run if Judge hadn't made a sensational catch just shy of the warning track.
Angels manager Phil Nevin was ejected in the ninth for arguing after Mike Trout was called out to end the inning on a full-count check swing with two on against Clay Holmes. Between innings, Nevin went all the way out to shallow right field to get in the face of first base umpire Will Little and give him an earful.
With one out and the automatic runner at second, Judge was intentionally walked in the 10th before Matt Moore (1-1) plunked Anthony Rizzo with a breaking ball to load the bases.
Torres, in a 1-for-21 slide, lofted a fly ball to deep right-center, and Isiah Kiner-Falefa scored easily from third without a throw.
Ian Hamilton (1-1) worked a scoreless inning for his second major league win, aided by a fine play at third base from DJ LeMahieu.
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