NEW YORK -- There were the 52 regular-season home runs. There was the Home Run Derby. And there was possibly an MVP season as a rookie. But if you are going to be the new face of baseball, a potential legend, it really happens in the cool air of October.
For everything the 6-foot-7, nearly 300-pound rookie Aaron Judge has accomplished in 2017, none of his performances were bigger or better than in Game 4 of the ALCS on Tuesday, when he and the New York Yankees took some more punches, absorbing the blows before knocking down their opponent, the Houston Astros. It was Judge who led them as the Yankees tied the ALCS with a come-from-behind 6-4 win over the Astros.
Down four runs in the seventh, Judge first hit a solo homer to start things off. In the eighth, with two more runs already in, he smoked the tying double -- just missing another homer -- off Houston closer Ken Giles. Yankee Stadium was rocking like it was 1996.
Judge's fellow Baby Bomber, Gary Sanchez, finished off Giles and the Astros with a go-ahead two-run double. Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman took care of the ninth, and this game was put into Yankees history books right next to all of their best postseason tales.
The American League Championship Series is a totally, spanking new series as it is now deadlocked at two games apiece. The Yankees have guaranteed that they are sending this one back to Houston for, at least, a Game 6 on Friday and possibly a tantalizing Game 7 on Saturday.
The Yankees' bats could not touch Houston starter Lance McCullers Jr. for six innings in Game 3. After the long break between the top of the seventh inning and the bottom for the Yankee Stadium staple of "God Bless America," Judge sent a mammoth homer over the monuments in center field. That was it for McCullers.
The Bronx crowd, which has been noticeably louder this postseason, was again creating an intimidating atmosphere. With a sellout crowd on its feet, the noise put added weight on the Astros. Their manager, A.J. Hinch, brought in right-hander Chris Devenski. The 26-year-old Devenski, who was an All-Star this season, faced only three batters, and wasn't particularly effective against any of them.
Didi Gregorius smacked a triple and scored after Sanchez lined a sacrifice fly to right, cutting Houston's lead in half.
The Yankees would go on to complete the comeback, once again showing why they are a tough out, especially at home, where they had the American League's best record.
They still have a tough task looming, as Keuchel has posted 13 scoreless innings this postseason. After him, in Houston, the Astros will have Justin Verlander in Game 6.
But this Yankees group is beginning to look like something special. They don't start playing in each series until they are down. In the wild-card game, the Twins held a 3-0 lead before the Yankees came to bat. The Yankees won. Against the Indians, they were in an 0-2 hole in the series. The Yankees won.
Now, they have come back to tie the ALCS at two games apiece. At this point, would anyone dare count out these Yankees?