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Yankees miss playoffs for first time since 2016 with windy 7-1 loss to Diamondbacks

New York Yankees designated hitter Aaron Judge walks back to the dugout after being called out on strikes to end the fifth inning during a baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Sunday, Sept. 24, 2023, in New York. (AP Photo/John Munson)

 New York Yankees designated hitter Aaron Judge walks back to the dugout after being called out on strikes to end the fifth inning during a baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Sunday, Sept. 24, 2023, in New York. (AP Photo/John Munson)

BY LARRY FLEISHER contributing

NEW YORK (AP) — The last time the New York Yankees missed the postseason, Aaron Judge was a .179 hitter with 27 games of experience in 2016.

Now he’s ending his first year as Yankees captain on a team that could not get into an expanded playoff field.

A year after the Yankees won 99 games and Judge hit 62 homers to break Roger Maris’ single-season AL record, New York was mathematically eliminated with a rainy 7-1 loss Sunday to the Arizona Diamondbacks as Zac Gallen got his 17th win.

“It’s tough,” Judge said after his bases-loaded walk in the ninth inning accounted for the Yankees’ lone run. “Every year I’ve been in New York, we’re in the postseason. So it’s going to be a little different this offseason, but just going to give us more time to work and get ready for the next one.”

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Beset by injuries, New York (78-77) was eliminated from contention with a week to play. The Yankees, who finish with a six-game trip after Monday’s series finale, are in danger of finishing with a losing record for the first time since 1992.

New York has had 37 injured list stints, including Judge, who missed nearly eight weeks after spraining his right big toe on June 3 at Dodger Stadium. The Yankees were 19-23 during Judge’s absence and are 24-29 since he returned.

“That’s what you work hard towards all year round, the wintertime, spring training on through the season, for an opportunity to play in October and compete for a championship,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “So the reality of that not being in play sucks.”

New York would have 85 wins if the Yankees finish 7-0. Baltimore (97 wins) and Tampa Bay (95) will split the AL East and the top wild card, and Toronto (87) is in position for the second wild card. Texas (86) could win the West or get a wild card in a race that includes Seattle (84) or Houston (85). Because the Astros and Mariners play three times in the final week, one must finish with more wins than the Yankees.

“There’s a lot that went wrong,” Judge said. “We can hit it from a lot of different aspects but when it comes down to it, we just didn’t come out here and do our job.”

In their streak of 30 straight winning seasons, the Yankees have never won fewer than 84 games. That was in 2016 when Judge homered in his first at-bat a day after Alex Rodríguez final game and several veterans were traded at the deadline.

Arizona (82-73) won for the sixth time in seven games and remained in position for the second NL wild card, a half-game ahead of the Chicago Cubs. The Diamondbacks also clinched their first winning season since 2019.

“I couldn’t be more proud of our guys,” manager Torey Lovullo said. “It was raining sideways for nine innings.”

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On a windy, rainy afternoon when fly balls became unpredictable, Gallen (17-8) allowed three hits in six innings, struck out eight and walked two. He won for the third time in four starts and had his eighth scoreless outing this season.

“We won this game because of him,” Lovullo said.

Tommy Pham and Christian Walker produced sacrifice flies on consecutive pitches in the first inning off Carlos Rodón (3-7) and that was enough for Gallen, who is second in the majors in wins, one behind Atlanta’s Spencer Strider.

Evan Longoria added a two-run single and Geraldo Perdomo had a sacrifice fly in Arizona’s three-run seventh following an error by New York left fielder Isiah Kiner-Falefa and a wild pitch by Randy Vásquez. Walker added an RBI groundout in the eighth and Gabriel Moreno hit an RBI double in the ninth.

The game started about 50 minutes late and the rain never stopped. It grew heavier during the middle innings but lessened in the final innings.

“It happens sometimes when you come on the East Coast, you battle some weather,” said Gallen, a New Jersey native. “Just tried to go out there and make pitches, just keep us in the game.”

Rodón allowed five runs — three earned — and five hits in 6 1/3 innings.

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Lovullo said he was going to call Weather Channel meteorologist Jim Cantore to get an update on the forecast but never got the chance because of his pregame preparation.

“I never reached out to him. I forgot,” Lovullo said.

Lovullo met Cantore in Atlanta when Arizona television play-by-play announcer Steve Berthiaume made the introduction.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Diamondbacks: 2B Ketel Marte (illness) was scratched from the original lineup.

Yankees: RHP Frankie Montas (right elbow) threw 25 pitches over two innings Saturday in his second rehab start for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes Barre and could be activated for the final week. A free agent after this season, Montas was 1-3 with a 6.35 ERA in eight games after being acquired from Oakland at last year’s trade deadline and has not pitched since making one relief appearance in the 2022 AL Championship Series. … C Jose Trevino (torn right wrist) said he plans to start hitting in a few weeks and should be ready for spring training. … OF Everson Pereira (hamstring) missed his ninth straight game.

UP NEXT

Arizona RHP Merrill Kelly (12-7, 3.37 ERA) opposes New York RHP Clarke Schmidt (9-9, 4.65) on Monday afternoon in the makeup of Saturday’s postponed game.