After struggling for most of July, the New York Yankees have regained their early season form lately and have been gaining ground on the Boston Red Sox in the American League East race.
On Thursday night, they drew to within half a game of their rivals with an exciting walk-off victory against the Tampa Bay Rays - the team that is in a close third place in the AL East, winning 6-5 on an 11th-inning walk-off home run by outfielder Brett Gardner.
As Gardner rounded third and headed for home plate, his teammates piled out of the dugout and gathered around home plate to celebrate the victory, mobbing Gardner and jumping up and down.
Unfortunately, as you can see in the video below, star outfielder Aaron Judge chipped his tooth in the celebration and had to head back to the locker room earlier than the rest of his teammates:
Judge, whose 32 home runs rank just one behind Miami Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton for the most in baseball, was in obvious discomfort as he left the celebration and consulted with trainers on his walk back to the locker room.
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The unfortunate injury obviously threw a bit of a damper on the Yankees' victory celebration, but Gardner told MLB.com after the game that he thinks Judge will be just fine:
"It wasn't my fault," Gardner said. "I threw it on the ground and then I think he had it in his hand. Somebody bumped into him and it hit him in the face. He's too big to get hurt by something like that. I think he'll be all right."
Whether or not Judge has to miss a game with the chipped tooth remains to be seen, but the Yankees are hoping to have him back on Friday night, as he's a key piece of their offense.
So far this season, the leading AL MVP candidate has hit .308 with 73 RBI and six stolen bases to go along with his 32 homers.
The Yankees improved to 54-46 with the win and now trail the first-place Red Sox by only half a game in the division. They also hold the first wildcard position in the AL, one game ahead of the Kansas City Royals, who currently hold the second wildcard spot.
On Thursday night, Judge had a rough night (for him) at the plate, going only 1-for-5. However, he still managed to see a team-high 24 pitches on the night, making the opposing hurlers work to get him out. If Judge has a bigger game on Friday, though, his teammates will need to be more careful when celebrating with him.
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