Improving Yankees pursue sweep of slumping Tigers

MLB

Aaron Judge’s return from lower-body soreness is going extremely well.

Judge looks to continue his production and lead the host New York Yankees to a three-game sweep of the scuffling Detroit Tigers on Sunday afternoon.

Judge did not start the final two games of the midweek series in Baltimore. The breather came after he homered Tuesday, and the Yankees were vague about the exact nature of Judge’s soreness.

Since Tuesday, Judge’s average has increased 28 points to .291, and he enters Sunday with seven homers and 18 RBIs. He hit two homers and drove in five runs Friday in New York’s 10-0 win over Detroit, then followed it up by hitting a tiebreaking double and a two-run single in a 6-4 win on Saturday.

Judge, who served as the designated hitter Saturday, will return to right field Sunday to make room for Giancarlo Stanton at DH. Stanton was given a day off, though he has heated up of late. He has collected at least three hits in three straight games for the first time in his career, and he is batting .444 (16-for-36) during an eight-game hitting streak.

The recent performances of Stanton and Judge is helping the Yankees turn things around after their worst start since 1991. The Yankees lost 11 of their first 17 games but improved to 7-3 in their past 10 thanks to Judge, who is leading an offense that is hitting .309 (55-for-178) in the past five games.

“I think it’s just at-bats,” Judge said. “You can’t really be judged off of 15, 30, 40 at-bats. We got to work ourselves into the season and just get reps. I think that’s what it really comes down to is repetition with anything you do.”

Detroit is attempting to snap a four-game losing streak and hopes some of the better at-bats it produced in the late innings Saturday continue. After entering Saturday with a .199 average, the Tigers finished with seven hits while taking their 14th loss in 16 games.

Jeimer Candelario homered and had three hits as the Tigers ended a 22-inning scoreless drought. Niko Goodrum also homered for Detroit, which hit multiple home runs for the third time in their 16-game skid while deploying its 28th lineup on the season.

“It was a winnable game and I thought our guys hung in and continued to compete,” Tigers manager AJ Hinch said. “But I don’t worry about our guys competing. I don’t worry about them shutting it down and being disinterested. But it sucks going through this.”

Corey Kluber (1-2, 4.15 ERA) will start for New York on Sunday coming off his best outing of the season. He is seeking his 100th career win.

He lowered his ERA from 5.40 by allowing one run on six hits in 6 2/3 innings during a 5-1 win at Baltimore on Tuesday. Kluber had not lasted longer than 4 2/3 innings in his first four outings in a New York uniform.

Kluber is 12-7 with a 3.48 ERA in 26 career games (25 starts) against the Tigers.

The Tigers’ Sunday starter, Jose Urena (1-3, 3.77 ERA), hopes for a better experience this time around at Yankee Stadium. On Sept. 27 while pitching for the Miami Marlins in a 5-0 win, Urena fractured his forearm by a line drive from DJ LeMahieu in the third inning.

Urena lost his first three starts this year, then took a no-decision before allowing two runs (one earned) on seven hits in seven innings Tuesday during a 5-2 win over the Chicago White Sox. Urena has completed seven innings in three straight starts and allowed two runs or fewer in four consecutive starts.

Urena is 0-1 with a 2.16 ERA in two career starts against the Yankees.

–Field Level Media

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