MILWAUKEE — Brandon Woodruff provided a major boost for the Milwaukee Brewers' injury-riddled pitching staff.
Woodruff struck out 10 in eight innings and Willy Adames hit a three-run homer as the Brewers defeated the New York Yankees 4-1 on Saturday night.
The big performance by Woodruff came one night after the Brewers had to use seven pitches in a 7-6 victory over the Yankees. The Brewers are trying to remain in playoff contention with three starting pitchers (Freddy Peralta, Eric Lauer and Aaron Ashby) on the injured list.
“The pitching situation we’re in, of course, it helps a lot,” manager Craig Counsell said. “We got through a game, we won another game without using a bunch of guys.”
New York slugger Aaron Judge went 1 for 3 with a double and a walk to remain at 57 homers. Judge is four homers from tying Roger Maris' American League record of 61.
Judge's batting average is at .312 as he contends for the Triple Crown. Judge leads the AL in homers and RBIs (123). Minnesota's Luis Arraez (.316) has the AL's top batting average.
“Stats are something that you look at at the end of the year and kind of evaluate how the season went,” Judge said. “Looking at stats, looking at numbers during the year, all it's going to do is drag you down and get you not focused on the right thing, which is to help the team win the game.”
The game included a bizarre moment in the third inning when Yankees first baseman Marwin Gonzalez was hit on the helmet by a throw from catcher Victor Caratini while standing in the batter’s box.
Caratini had just received a pitch and was attempting to get the ball back to Woodruff (11-4), but the catcher’s throw instead struck the left-handed-hitting Gonzalez on the left side of his head, causing the batter’s helmet to pop off.
Gonzalez was examined by a Yankees athletic trainer for a few minutes before being removed from the game. Caratini reacted apologetically as soon as his throw hit Gonzalez.
Gonzalez left the Yankees’ 7-6 loss to the Brewers on Friday due to an illness.
“He took a pretty good shot, better than I thought,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “He had a pretty good mark on his face when I went up there to check on him. Trainers just felt like he needed to get out of there at that point. He wanted to stay in. I don't think it's anything that's going to put him down, but we'll see how we're doing through the night.”
The Brewers won despite getting just four hits to remain 1 1/2 games behind the San Diego Padres in the race for the final NL wild card. The Yankees' AL East lead dropped to 4 1/2 games over the Toronto Blue Jays.
Adames opened the scoring in the third inning when he sent a first-pitch sinker from Jameson Taillon (13-5) over the left-field wall.
His 30 homers are the most by a Brewers shortstop, one more than future Hall of Famer Robin Yount had in his 1982 MVP season when led the team to its lone World Series appearance.
“It means the world to me to be right next to a legend like Robin Yount," Adames said. ”He means the world for this organization and this city, so it’s an honor for me and a pleasure."
New York’s Josh Donaldson responded by leading off the top of the fourth with a homer to left off Woodruff, cutting Milwaukee’s lead to 3-1. Both Adames and Donaldson also homered Friday.
But that’s all the offense the Yankees managed against Woodruff, who struck out 10 while allowing just five hits and one walk. Woodruff fanned five-time All-Star Giancarlo Stanton four times, Stanton's fourth four-strikeout game this season.
Woodruff’s eight-inning appearance matched the longest start by a Brewers pitcher this season, by Corbin Burnes in a 2-1 victory over San Francisco on Sept. 8.
“I love September baseball,” Woodruff said. “I love games that really mean something and obviously the Yankees coming into town, there’s always that buzz with them. It was fun. They’ve got a great lineup.”
The Brewers made it 4-1 in the fifth as Garrett Mitchell singled and came home on Christian Yelich’s double.
Devin Williams retired the side in order for his 13th save in 14 opportunities.
Yankees RHP Frankie Montas was to have an MRI on his shoulder after lasting just 3 1/3 innings Friday. ... Boone said 1B Anthony Rizzo (back) will likely return Sunday. ... RHP Stephen Ridings struck out two and allowed one hit in one scoreless inning during a rehabilitation appearance with Double-A Somerset. He threw 13 pitches, 11 for strikes. Ridings hasn’t pitched in the majors this season as he recovers from a shoulder injury. ... CF Harrison Bader (plantar fasciitis) went 0 for 2 with a walk for Somerset.
RHP Gerrit Cole (11-7, 3.30 ERA) pitches for the Yankees and RHP Jason Alexander (2-3, 5.29) starts for the Brewers as the series concludes Sunday.