|Red Sox try again for clincher at Yankee Stadium|
NEW YORK -- The inevitable champagne celebration was put on hold for one more night for the Boston Red Sox.
It was hardly the concern for the New York Yankees, whose priority was making sure Aaron Judge successfully made it through his return to the starting lineup.
After welcoming Judge back to the lineup, the Yankees hope to prevent their rivals from officially securing the American League East on Wednesday night.
"He looked like he hadn't missed a beat from the at-bat quality," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said of Judge.
Boston (103-48) can win its third straight division title with a win. The Red Sox nearly locked it up Tuesday by taking a lead into the seventh and putting on the tying runs before the Yankees escaped with a 3-2 victory.
Neil Walker hit a three-run homer but more importantly for the Yankees, was Judge appearing in the starting lineup for the first time since July 26 when he broke his right wrist. Judge went 0-for-4 but one of the at-bats was a 112 mph lineout.
"I felt like I never left," Judge said. "Everything felt good. I felt like my at-bats were good, seeing the ball. That's all I can ask for coming back after missing that many weeks. So I'm excited with the start. We got the win and just have to keep that rolling."
Judge was a week into his recovery when the Red Sox essentially locked up the AL East with their four-game sweep of the Yankees at Fenway Park Aug. 2-5. The Red Sox have held first place every day since July 2 and are 47-19 since the teams were last tied following New York's 11-1 rout at Yankee Stadium on July 1.
When the Red Sox clinch, first-year manager Alex Cora said he plans to watch his players enjoy the rewards for a season that began with a 14-2 start and one that might end with the most wins in team history.
"Celebrations are for the players," Cora said before Tuesday's game. "You kind of like stay away from them. I really made a point to stay in the corner of the room last year (with the Houston Astros) and enjoy it."
Cora will be hoping he can pencil in Mookie Betts into the lineup. Betts was originally going to play center field Tuesday but the wet field kept him out of the lineup with a left side injury.
"One thing for sure with him, and I know he's close to doing a few things that are very special in this game, but like I've been saying, he's a small guy, not as big as some other ones, and we need him to be close to 100 percent," Cora said.
When Betts returns, he will attempt to add to his .337 average, 29 homers, and 72 RBIs while continuing to be productive against the Yankees. He is hitting .412 in 51 at-bats with two homers and 10 RBIs and has reached base in 31 of 62 plate appearances against New York this year.
David Price will start the potential clincher for the Red Sox and looks to continue his recent roll. After getting pounded by the Yankees on July 1, he was 9-6 with a 4.28 ERA. Since then, he is 6-0 with a 2.22 ERA in his last 11 outings.
Price last pitched a week ago against Toronto when he allowed three hits in seven scoreless innings in a 1-0 win. In his last start, Price made effective use of 31 changeups, getting 10 swings and misses on the pitch.
"It was a very good pitch," Price said. "Being able to throw it if I was behind in the count or ahead of the count, being able to locate it down, that's a big key for that pitch for me."
Price is 15-13 with a 4.86 ERA in 41 career appearances (40 starts) against the Yankees. He last faced New York on Aug. 5 in Boston when he allowed two runs on four hits in six innings in a game the Red Sox won in the 10th.
Yankees right-hander Luis Severino makes his fourth attempt at getting his 18th win. Since his last win Aug. 26 at Baltimore, he is 0-2 with a 5.65 ERA.
Severino last pitched a week ago in Minnesota, when he allowed one run on four hits in 5 2/3 innings of a 3-1 loss.
Severino is 3-6 with a 4.29 ERA in 12 career appearances (11 starts) against the Red Sox.