Livescore Thursday, April 25
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BRONX, N.Y. – Everyone knew it was going to be difficult.

The Yankees certainly knew that losing Aaron Judge for an extended period of time was going to have an effect on their offensive output. But in the five games, including Friday’s 3-2 loss to the Red Sox, since he’s been out of the lineup it’s obvious how much their slugger is missed.

The Yankees put up just two runs against a sub-.500 Boston team and Garrett Whitlock, who came into Friday’s series opener with a 5.61 ERA.

One may choke it up as a fluke, but after their 4-1 win in the series finale against the Dodgers, they scored just 10 runs in their next three games (1-2) against the sub-.500 White Sox and their one win was a 3-0 victory — not necessarily lighting up the scoreboard.

But Yankees manager Aaron Boone sees the positives in Friday’s defeat.

“I actually thought we had decent at-bats up and down,” Boone said after the game. “We just scattered our hits around and couldn’t string that big one together until [Josh Donaldson] got them.

“For only scoring two runs, it felt like we had a lot of quality at-bats up and down, we just couldn’t get the big one.”

The Yankees did put up nine hits, but as the skipper said they just couldn’t get that timely hit to push across runs.

They had their chance in the first inning with DJ LeMahieu and Giancarlo Stanton at the corners — inning ended on a Jake Bauers ground out — and then in the seventh with Anthony Volpe on second — inning ended with a LeMahieu force out.

If the Yankees, who have now lost three of the last five games Judge has missed, want to keep winning they’ll need their big bats to fill — or at least attempt to — the hole the reigning AL MVP has left.

Anthony Rizzo has been on a 1-for-24 slump since missing the Seattle Mariners series with a neck issue, including 0-for-4 on Friday. Stanton is just 3-for-18, including 1-for-4 on Friday, since his return from the IL on June 2.

Despite the struggles, Boone is optimistic that they can break through it. LeMahieu was mired in a 3-for-26 slump before his 2-for-4 day on Friday and was involved in a lot of the Yankees offense against the Red Sox in the opener.

As for Rizzo, Boone said that physically he’s “fine” but this slump is just a part of the “ebb and flow” of the long season. Though he was hitless Friday, Boone pointed out that his final two at-bats saw the first baseman get two good swings on balls but were just hit at the fielders.

The lack of offense was a big reason why Yankees ace Gerrit Cole suffered his first loss of the season. He gave his team a quality start, giving up just two runs over six innings. That normally would be enough for a victory but the offense lacked that knockout blow.

There can be times when a pitcher knows they may not receive a lot of run support and can place more pressure on themselves in their starts. But the veteran right-hander doesn’t believe he experienced that Friday.

“I don’t think there’s more pressure, we just miss [Judge],” Cole said. “I mean he’s just the greatest player in the world, pretty much. And anybody that doesn’t have him in their lineup would rather have them in their lineup.

“We had a good battle tonight. We just didn’t come out on top, but we gave ourselves some chances and next time we’ll come through. However long Aaron’s out we’re gonna have to weather the storm and maybe we’ll learn something from it, improve in some way or another because the game’s gonna challenge us in different ways, when he’s not on the field.”

Despite all the missed opportunities, the Yankees had a chance to win it in the ninth inning. With two outs, the Yankees scratched out two singles to bring up Volpe with the chance to tie or win the game.

Against potential Hall-of-Fame closer Kenley Jansen, the rookie shortstop fought to a 3-2 count before launching a cutter that was over the plate toward the left-field foul pole but it just hooked foul.

“I was definitely in the moment,” Volpe said. “There’s some really, really good ABs in front of me. So I was more just focused in the moment, on the approach and how I was gonna attack him because [Jansen is] a very good pitcher.

Speaking of his approach in that final at-bat, Volpe added “I just wanted to be aggressive in my zone. I knew he has good stuff and he’s had a really good career off of his cutter. So I figured I was gonna get pitches to hit, and I wanted to just stay within myself and really be aggressive in my zone.”

After the long foul, Volpe ultimately popped out to end the game. A tough loss for a team looking to right the ship without their captain. But this Yankees team, despite the recent struggles, seems calm and confident that they’ll hit their stride soon enough.

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