NEW YORK (AP) — Aaron Judge's home run Tuesday night left the field about as quickly as he did.
Judge dented an advertisement with a scorching homer before making an unusual early exit, Jordan Montgomery pitched efficiently against a lineup missing its brightest young star and the New York Yankees beat the Atlanta Braves 9-6 Tuesday night.
“I’m surprised he didn’t put a hole in the sign,” teammate Luke Voit said of Judge's shot.
Atlanta scratched Ronald Acuña Jr. about 90 minutes before first pitch with a sore left wrist, and the 2018 NL Rookie of the Year will be examined in New York on Wednesday. Manager Brian Snitker said he wasn't aware of the injury until batting practice Tuesday.
“It was enough that he could’t play, he wasn’t available today," Snitker said.
Similar concern bubbled around Judge after he was pulled in the sixth inning Tuesday, but manager Aaron Boone said he just wanted to get the star slugger off his feet.
“I just want to make sure we’re being smart with every one," Boone said.
Judge smashed his 113.1 mph homer off a sign above the home bullpen in right-center field, leaving his mark on a shot leading off the fifth. He entered the day tied with San Diego’s Fernando Tatis Jr. for the major league lead with eight home runs.
Judge's night came to a bizarre end an inning later, when Boone sent Mike Tauchman in to pinch hit. New York led 8-3 — hardly a blowout — and Judge didn't appear to be injured.
Judge briefly remained in the dugout, watching Tauchman hit from the top rail, but he returned to the clubhouse about an inning later and didn't return — not even for postgame handshakes.
No other Yankees' starter was removed at that stage of the game, and with New York getting two days off this week, there shouldn't be much need to rest Judge. Boone maintained Judge — a consummate teammate praised for his leadership and support — skipped the end of the game to get an early jump on his postgame routine.
“Just going in and getting his normal treatment," Boone said.
Voit hit a three-run drive in the first inning off Braves starter Touki Toussaint (0-1), who turned in the second straight abysmal start for a rotation that's reeling without injured ace Mike Soroka, lost for the season with a torn right Achilles tendon. Atlanta starters have a 5.57 ERA.
Toussaint allowed six runs — five earned — in four innings a night after left-hander Sean Newcomb allowed eight runs in 1 1/3 innings against Philadelphia. Newcomb was demoted to the alternate site after Monday’s game.
Judge's home run came off 22-year-old right-hander Bryse Wilson, who was recalled from Atlanta's alternate site to replace Newcomb. Wilson was under consideration to start Wednesday against the Yankees until Toussaint left the Braves in need of long relief.
“It doesn’t matter what the situation is," manager Brian Snitker said of his young pitchers. "You have to weather storms with them.”
Montgomery (2-1) cruised through five innings before allowing a three-run homer to Marcell Ozuna in the sixth. He threw 78 pitches over six innings, allowing three runs, four hits and a walk with four strikeouts. Zack Britton pitched a perfect ninth inning for his sixth save.
Mike Ford added a two-run double for New York in the third.
Atlanta clawed back from an 8-0 deficit a night after scoring seven runs in the ninth inning of a 13-8 loss to the Phillies. Johan Camargo and Tyler Flowers each had RBI doubles Tuesday.
New York's middle infielders had a rough night defensively. In the second inning, neither second baseman DJ LeMahieu or shortstop Gleyber Torres covered second on a potential double-play grounder to third baseman Gio Urshela.
LeMahieu and Torres also appeared to have a miscommunication on a grounder up the middle in the seventh, allowing Atlanta's fourth run to score, and Torres made an error that led to another run in the eighth.
“We obviously didn't play our best game tonight,” Boone said.
Braves: Atlanta says Acuña is day to day, and at this stage, he's not planning to join best friend and second baseman Ozzie Albies on the injured list. Albies has a sore right wrist.
Yankees: OF/DH Giancarlo Stanton is expected to miss three to four weeks after being diagnosed with a grade 1 left hamstring strain, although manager Aaron Boone said the team was still evaluating the 2017 NL MVP and the timeline could be adjusted. ... RHP Aroldis Chapman (COVID-19) threw about 25 pitches against live hitters at the alternate site. His time frame to rejoin the team remains unclear. ... OF Clint Frazier was promoted from the alternate site, two days after INF Thairo Estrada was sent down. ... Voit was hit in the left hand by a pitch in the fifth inning but remained in the game.
RHP Masahiro Tanaka (0-0, 1.17) is slated to face the Braves after pitching five shutout innings against Tampa Bay in his previous outing. RHP Huascar Ynoa (0-0, 3.86) will open a bullpen game for Atlanta.
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