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Aaron Judge, Yankees ‘pissed’ at pitch that drilled him on hand

Any time two of baseball’s best teams face off in the same division, the stakes of that battle get even higher.

That heightened energy was especially palpable at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday night after Aaron Judge was hit by a pitch on his left hand in the top of the third inning during the Yankees’ 4-2 win over the Orioles.

A calm Judge shook his head as he walked halfway between Orioles starting pitcher Albert Suarez and first base.

Aaron Judge wasn’t happy with the pitch that hit him in the hand. Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

“It was definitely annoying,” Judge said of the pitches. “A couple of balls went inside, and that’s understandable. They like to pitch it inside.”

Judge, who played center fielder despite a grimace, left the game in the fourth inning and Trent Grisham took over as the Yankees captain.

Judge said after the game that both X-rays and a CT scan came back negative, to the relief of the Yankees and their fans.

Despite this, Judge’s teammates were not happy with Suarez’s pitch location.

“Our captain got hit and we don’t take this lightly,” outfielder Alex Verdugo said. “We’re not happy about what happened at all.”

However, the Orioles maintained that the incident was unintentional.

Judge initially remained in the game but was ultimately removed. Jason Senes, New York Post

“I tried to go up and get inside but I think I overdid it,” Suarez said. “I did it before and he fouled me with it. I tried to go inside again and it just happened to hit him.”

Then, in the bottom of the fifth, second baseman Gleyber Torres was hit in the hand by a ball from relief pitcher Keegan Akin.

The Yankees’ dugout fans rose to the top step, and several players yelled in anger in the direction of Baltimore.

The tension was palpable throughout the rest of the night, and again in the sixth inning, when starter Nestor Cortez struck out Orioles star Gunnar Henderson with a high, tight fastball from home plate.

Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Albert Suarez said the pitch that hit Judge was unintentional. USA TODAY Sports via Reuters

“Pitchers have been trying to pitch up and in these days. [a] “It was a competitive pitch,” Henderson says. “I had no particular idea.”

With their series-opening win, the Yankees improved to 51-24 and extended their lead in the division to 2 ¹/₂ games.

With two more crucial games between the two AL powerhouses this week and reigning Cy Young Award winner Gerrit Cole making his season debut on Wednesday, the attention couldn’t be any less — and the Yankees know it.

“From the moment I got here, everybody was talking about how we want to beat this team,” said first baseman Ben Rice, who made his major league debut on Tuesday. “The first game is over. Now we’ve got to win the series.”