The New York Yankees defeated the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday night by a score of 6-5 thanks to a walk-off home run off the bat of star right fielder Aaron Judge. It was an emotional victory for New York, as the night was not without tension. Yankees third baseman Josh Donaldson, a former Blue Jays star and the 2015 MVP, was plunked by Toronto reliever Yimi Garcia in the left arm in the sixth inning, resulting in the pitcher’s ejection from the game. The umpires believed that Donaldson and Blue Jays catcher Tyler Heineman had exchanged “pretty strong words”, believing the hit to be intentional. Whether it was on purpose or not, the Blue Jays can thank that moment for providing Judge, Donaldson and the rest of the Yankees the fuel they needed to secure the win, as reported by Bryan Hoch of MLB.com.
“When Josh got hit, I think that kind of locked all of us in and said, ‘OK, it’s go time,’” Judge said. “Especially me. It got me going a little bit.”
Judge said that Donaldson getting plunked “locked the Yankees in”, acknowledging that the moment “got him going.” If so, it was a powerful motivator, as Judge ended up leaving his mark on the game with the clutch, three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth.
Judge, who now leads baseball with 10 home runs on the season, may also be using his failed contract negotiations with the club as his motivation for this season. Either way, it’s clear that there’s no shortage of fire in the belly for this Yankees team in 2022.