By JILL PAINTER LOPEZ – Associated Press
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Aaron Judge hit his 50th homer of the season, but Shohei Ohtani also went deep in their MVP showdown, and the Los Angeles Angels held off the New York Yankees 4-3 on Monday night .
The top two contenders for AL MVP both delivered in front of a sold-out crowd that included many Yankees fans. Ohtani broke a 2-all tie in the fifth inning with his 29th home run, a two-run drive to right center.
Judge connected in the eighth for a 434-foot shot from reliever Ryan Tepera that made it 4-3.
With his parents in the stands, the California-born slugger became one of only 10 players in major league history with multiple 50 homer seasons. Judge hit 52 long balls in 2017, setting a rookie record that was broken two years later when Pete Alonso hit 53 for the New York Mets.
“It’s just another number,” Judge said. “It’s great, but I’m a little upset about the loss.”
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The first-place Yankees tried to rally in the ninth, but three-time AL MVP Mike Trout went a long way to make a deep center run catch on a drive from Oswaldo Cabrera with a runner-first for the final.
Judge, who received an “MVP!” chants late in the game, was intentionally walked twice before going deep. He is chasing the Yankees single-season record of 61 homers set by Roger Maris in 1961.
“I’m not downplaying it,” Judge said. “I don’t like to talk about numbers.”
New York, which leads the AL East by seven games against Tampa Bay, has lost three in a row — all on the road. The Angels, who have struggled mightily for most of the season, have won four straight.
Angels starter Jose Suarez (5-6) held the Yankees to two runs and three hits in six innings. Jimmy Herget got two outs for his fourth save.
Frankie Montas (4-11), traded to Oakland earlier this month, allowed three homers in the loss. He allowed four earned runs and eight hits in six innings.
Luis Rengifo and ex-Yankee Mike Ford toured for the Angels with Ohtani, the two-way star who won the AL MVP award last year.
Anthony Rizzo has also signed on for New York.
Rizzo, dropped to sixth in the batting order, hit a solo shot to right field to give the Yankees a 2-1 lead in fourth.
The lead didn’t last long as Ford homered in the bottom half to equalise. It was his first of the season.
Ford was signed by the Yankees as an undrafted free agent in 2012 and made his major league debut with the team in 2019.
Rengifo went deep in the second to give the Angels a 1-0 lead. It was his 11th home run of the season, his career best.
DJ LeMahieu used a sacrificial bunt – his first since 2019 – to bring in Isiah Kiner-Falefa with the tying run in the third. Kiner-Falefa drew a walk to start the inning.
Yankees: RHP Clay Holmes was returned to the injured list after recovering from back spasms. He entered with a runner in the seventh and had three straight outs in his first appearance since Aug. 12. … LHP Nestor Cortes (groin) will pitch a bullpen on Wednesday and could pitch again this weekend at the team’s practice facility in Tampa, Fla.
Angels: RHP Michael Lorenzen (strained right shoulder) said he felt 100% after a 70-shot rehab start, but could have another. … INF Matt Duffy (lower back) has been reinstated from the injured list.
New York placed INF/OF Marwin Gonzalez on the paternity list and recalled OF Tim Locastro from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. RHP Luke Bard was picked for Triple-A after Sunday’s game at Oakland.
Yankees: RHP Jameson Taillon (12-4, 3.89 ERA) pitched well at Oakland last time out, allowing an earned run in six scoreless innings on walks.
Angels: RHP Mike Mayers (1-1, 4.46) pitched five scoreless innings in his last start at Tampa Bay. He allowed just two hits, but the Angels lost in 11 innings.
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