The Astros didn’t let Aaron Judge’s troll of Jose Altuve go without a response— getting the last laugh in emphatic fashion.
After hitting a walk-off home run to beat the Yankees 8-7 on Sunday at Minute Maid Park, Altuve was the last one standing — with his shirt off, a scene he didn’t allow to happen when he hit another walk-off homer to sink the Yankees in the 2019 ALCS, which led many to speculate he was wearing a buzzer.
Aaron Judge had mocked Altuve on Saturday night after hitting a homer, tugging at his jersey like Altuve had in 2019 when the Astros second baseman told teammates not to rip off his jersey while celebrating. But the Astros had an answer early and late Sunday, with catcher Martin Maldonado pulling down his collar to expose his buzzer-less chest after hitting a solo homer in the third inning before Altuve socked the game-winner.
“Something funny, I was watching a [UFC] fight last night. The guy that won the fight [Dustin Poirier] said, ‘Karma is not a bitch, it’s a mirror,’ ” Maldonado said. “I would say Altuve, the guy has done it for many years. Seeing him out there, when he got to the plate, we knew something big was going to happen.”
Altuve did not speak to reporters after the game, instead leaving the park to be with his father in the hospital, according to the Astros.
An MLB investigation found no evidence that Altuve was wearing a buzzer in 2019, but the back-and-forth was still alive and well this weekend in Houston — the Yankees’ first time playing there since the ALCS loss.
After Judge had chalked his celebration up to reminding his teammates to “button up” inside the “chilly” dome, Maldonado played along when asked about his response.
“It’s a little hot,” Maldonado said. “I was trying to get some air into my shirt. That was it.”
Before their ninth-inning meltdown, the Yankees leaned into Judge’s “chilly” bit, greeting Tim Locastro and Gary Sanchez with jackets when they returned to the dugout after hitting home runs.
But Yankees manager Aaron Boone had little time for the antics traded between the two teams.
“I really don’t even have any interest,” he said. “We coughed up a 7-2 lead. I don’t think it had anything to do with any of the things — the extra stuff people are talking about.”
Astros manager Dusty Baker said before the game that he thought Judge’s celebration was “wrong,” but was glad to see Altuve — who hit a go-ahead homer off Chad Green at Yankee Stadium in May — deliver against Green again Sunday.
“Let them celebrate. Let them party, because we’ve been down the last few games,” Baker said. “Jose Altuve beat them in New York with the homer and he beat them today.”