Yankees RF Aaron Judge blasted his first home run of spring training but RHP Michael King struggled Thursday as New York lost a 13-12 game against the Philadelphia Phillies at BayCare Ballpark in Clearwater, Fla.
Five things to know from Thursday’s game
1. Judge’s homer drought is over. With a 1-2 count and none out in the top of the first inning, after a leadoff single to left field by DJ LeMahieu, Judge crushed Phillies LHP Matt Moore‘s 12th pitch. Moore’s 93-mph fastball fell flat over the middle of the plate and Judge deposited a 440-foot bomb out to left field.
The two-run blast left the ballpark and put the Yanks up 2-0, headlining a 1-for-2 day at the plate for Judge, who worked a fourth-inning walk before going down on a sixth-inning strikeout looking.
2. King was unable to pitch with an early lead, starting in the bottom half of the first inning and working into a five-run frame. After King leadoff batter Andrew McCutchen, J.T. Realmuto doubled and Bryce Harper walked. With the bases loaded, King hit Rhys Hoskins and McCutchen scored.
Alec Brohm grounded into a fielder’s choice at second base, and Realmuto scored on the play. Up next, with runners on the corners, King left a 94-mph fastball over the plate and Didi Gregorius clubbed a three-run homer that just cleared the right-field fence and gave the Phillies a 5-2 lead. In 2 1/3 innings, King surrendered five runs on seven hits (one homer) while striking out two, walking two and hitting three.
3. Following a two-run bottom of the second inning, putting the Yankees in a 7-2 hole, SS Gleyber Torres gave New York a jolt. Still facing Moore, Torres did his best Judge impersonation as he turned a 90-mph cutter over the plate into a three-run shot to left field — a 428-foot blast.
The home run cleared the left-field Frenchy’s bar and appeared to also leave the ballpark, giving the Yankees a pulse again while the Phillies clung to a 7-5 edge. Torres, who worked walks in the first and fifth innings before a seventh-inning strikeout looking, finished 1 for 2. Torres is up to three long balls this spring.
4. RHP Jonathan Loaisiga gave the Yankees a strong fourth, fifth and sixth inning of middle relief. Loaisiga entered in the fourth inning and recorded a leadoff strikeout swinging against Harper before getting Hoskins to ground out and fanning Ronald Torreyes looking.
After a fifth inning of three straight groundouts, the sixth frame saw Loaisiga surrender a two-out single to Realmuto. Harper drove the run home on a double to right field, giving the Phillies an 8-6 edge.
Loaisiga responded on the next batter, though, a Hoskins flyout to center field. In three innings, Loaisiga yielded one run on two hits while striking out two and walking none.
5. LeMahieu was the Yankees’ only multi-hit batter, his third of spring training. He went 2 for 3 with a second-inning single, fourth-inning lineout and sixth-inning walk.
The Yankees (13-9) return to George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Fla., Friday for a 6:35 p.m. game against the Orioles (9-14). New York ace RHP Gerrit Cole (3-0, 3.55 ERA) and Baltimore RHP Jorge Lopez (0-1, 3.68 ERA) are projected to start.