This week, Aaron Boone called Aaron Judge the “best player in the world right now,” which might be true.
But two San Diego superstars with claims to the title stole the show in front of the third sold-out crowd of the season in The Bronx.
Juan Soto and Fernando Tatis Jr. launched a pair of home runs that combined to travel nearly 900 feet to provide the bulk of the Padres’ scoring in a 5-1 Yankees loss in front of 46,724 on Friday night.
The Yankees (30-23) have followed a five-game winning streak with a three-game losing streak, dropping the final two of a series against the Orioles and the first of a set against the Padres (24-27).
The latest defeat included bench coach Carlos Mendoza serving as the manager as Boone served a one-game suspension following his third ejection in his past 10 games.
No manager, though, would have made the difference in a game that became about the visiting stars.
Soto was the first to strike, hammering a 3-2, middle-of-the-plate cutter 432 feet to the second deck in right field in what had been a scoreless game in the fifth inning.
The former Nationals outfielder watched it go, flung his bat at the ground and started a slow trot after his 10th homer of the season.
Those two runs were the only ones allowed by Yankees starter Randy Vasquez, who otherwise had an impressive major league debut.
Soon thereafter, it was Tatis’ turn.
The 24-year-old, who missed 80 games from the end of last year into the beginning of this season after testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance, heard “Steroids” chants from fans in the nearby, right-field seats in the first inning.
In the sixth, Tatis took out any lingering annoyance on Ron Marinaccio.
The 24-year-old blasted a Marinaccio changeup to the second deck in left field and stood in the batter’s box until it hooked around the pole and landed 439 feet away.
Only then did Tatis begin jogging around the bases for his own two-run homer.
The Yankees scored once in the bottom of the inning, when an Anthony Rizzo groundout pushed home Gleyber Torres.
But the Padres compensated by scoring once in the ninth on a Rougned Odor RBI single.
The Yankees could do little against Joe Musgrove and the Padres’ bullpen.
They went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position and struggled to cash in on their chances.
The Yankees brought up the potential tying run twice in the seventh, but Isiah Kiner-Falefa struck out in a 10-pitch battle with Steven Wilson before Jake Bauers popped up.
Their first threat, in the fourth inning, included a pair of two-out singles from Rizzo and DJ LeMahieu, but Harrison Bader grounded out.
The Yankees couldn’t ask for much more from Vasquez, who threw one regrettable pitch in 4 ²/₃ innings of his major league debut.
The young righty became Soto’s latest victim — which happens — but looked strong in a spot start prompted by Domingo German’s sticky-stuff suspension, which necessitated another starter to be called up.
Vasquez, whom MLB Pipeline considers the club’s No. 12 prospect, struck out six and gave up four hits and three walks against a dangerous San Diego lineup.
Vasquez flashed a mid-90s four-seamer and sinker, a cutter that was effective against lefties and a curveball that consistently frustrated Padres batters.
Vasquez’s curve induced three of his six whiffs.
He had to dance out of trouble immediately, walking two in the first inning, but came back to strike out Odor, the former Yankee.
In the third inning, he struck out Tatis and Soto — a pair from the Dominican Republic, from which Vasquez also hails — and he sailed through four innings.
And then the Yankees reached the fifth, when first Soto and then Tatis reminded that Judge was not the only superstar in the building.