NEW YORK — Aaron Judge and the New York Yankees couldn’t wait to get back home.
Now, that’s exactly where they’re staying.
CC Sabathia became the latest pitcher to put New York in an early hole as rookie manager Aaron Boone again stuck with his starter too long and the Yankees fell just short of extending their season Tuesday night with a 4-3 loss to the rival Boston Red Sox in Game 4 of their American League Division Series.
“That’s the one team that you don’t want to lose to,” outfielder Brett Gardner said. “We hate losing to them and we love beating them. Obviously, they just had our number this year.”
New York mounted a last-ditch rally against wild closer Craig Kimbrel, scoring twice in the ninth inning. But the Yankees’ comeback stalled when Gary Sanchez’s bases-loaded sacrifice fly was caught on the left-field warning track and rookie Gleyber Torres grounded out with two on to end it — sort of.
The play at first base was close, so both teams and a sellout crowd held their breath during a dramatic replay review before the out call was upheld following a 63-second delay. Kimbrel and the Red Sox — suspended in mid-celebration for a minute — resumed bouncing around in excitement.
“We played a really hard season, we managed to win 100 games and then we get to this point and we just can’t finish off a series against the Red Sox. It’s tough,” reliever David Robertson said.
Asked about his long fly, Sanchez said through a translator: “I wasn’t sure about it. I hit it well, but I got under it.”
After beating Oakland in the AL wild-card game, it was a humbling playoff exit for a power-packed Yankees team that added reigning NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton last offseason and hit a major league-record 267 home runs.
With the stakes at their highest, however, the Yankees never left the yard in two home games versus Boston. They were outscored 20-4 as the AL East champs took the best-of-five series 3-1 and advanced to the ALCS against defending World Series champion Houston.
“I didn’t expect to come here and lose two in a row. I expected to come back here and win two in a row,” Gardner said.
Last year, it was the Yankees who reached the AL Championship Series before their surprising run ended with a Game 7 loss to the Astros.
This time, a 2018 season that began with sky-high expectations — now over in bitter disappointment.
While the Red Sox got strong starts from Chris Sale, Nathan Eovaldi and Rick Porcello during the series, Yankees starters were charged with 15 runs over 13 innings in four games.
Masahiro Tanaka was the only one to get an out in the fourth.
“They just had a lot of stuff going right. We’re very equal teams,” Sa bathia insisted. “The ball just bounced their way.”