Yankees' Aaron Judge Makes History With Two Home Runs, Including Game-Winner, Against Red Sox
NEW YORK — Aaron Judge's start to the 2020 regular season is no longer just hot, it's historic.
The Yankees' right fielder homered twice on Sunday night, going deep in his fifth consecutive game. Both were go-ahead homers — a three-run blast in the second inning and a game-winning, two-run shot in the bottom of the eighth to clinch a 9-7 victory over the Red Sox.
Judge stepped up to the plate in the eighth in a tie game with DJ LeMahieu standing on first. After getting ahead to a 2-0 count, Boston's right-hander Matt Barnes served up a hanging knuckle curveball over the plate. Judge demolished it.
"Right now, it’s just about not missing my pitch," Judge said. "Pitchers are making really good pitches, hitting their corners, but when there’s times when they leave one over the plate, I’ve got to do some damage on it. Fortunately enough, I’ve been able to do that a couple of times early on."
His sixth home run of the season flew 468 feet, soaring beyond the visitor's bullpen in left-center field at Yankee Stadium. It left his bat at 107.4 mph, according to Statcast.
Earlier, Judge had launched a 419-foot bomb with an exit velocity of 107.9 mph. His first moonshot of the night touched down in the second deck down the left-field line.
"He doesn’t look like he’s doing too much," LeMahieu said. "Really calm, easy, confident and obviously his talent speaks for himself. When you put all those factors together, he is where he is and he’s a dangerous hitter."
With his sixth long ball of the season, Judge took the lead for the most home runs in Major League Baseball thus far in 2020. It was the 10th multi-homer game of Judge's career and just the second time he's driven in five runs in a single game at the big-league level.
"He’s healthy and he’s a stud," first baseman Luke Voit said. "There’s a reason he almost won the MVP [in '17]. He’s in a groove right now and I’m excited to see what he can do in 60 games this year with how he’s raking right now. It’s a guy that you don’t want to take your eyes off when he’s hitting."
Six homers in five games puts Judge in historic company within the sport's most storied franchise.
Judge is just the 10th Yankee to ever homer in five consecutive games and first to do so since Alex Rodriguez in 2007. Only Don Mattingly (eight straight), Roger Maris (six straight) and Lou Gehrig (six straight) have produced longer streaks in Yankees history.
The last player in pinstripes to hit six home runs in a span of five games was Alex Rodriguez back in September of 2007 (he had seven in that stretch).
Further, Judge and Rodriguez are now the only Yankees ever to hit six long balls across the Bombers' first eight games of a season. On Saturday, Judge joined Mark Teixeira (2011), Jorge Posada (2001), Yogi Berra (1956), Gehrig (1932), Babe Ruth (1921) and Rodriguez as the seventh Yankee to hit four in the club's first seven contests.
"It's an honor to be in the same sentence as those guys that have done so much for the game," Judge explained. "I’m just trying to go out there and do my part for a team that has a lot of talent and a lot of heart. That’s been my biggest thing, just try to go out there and do my part."
After his monster performance on Sunday, Judge leads the Yankees — and all of Major League Baseball — in RBI (14) and total bases (24). He's now tied for the league-lead with 10 runs scored.
With both of Judge's homers against Boston giving New York the lead, he continues to extend his year-plus stretch of showcasing his power in clutch situations. All six of Judge's big flies this season have have tied the game or given the Yankees the lead.
That's not all. Since the start of last season, 24 of his 33 homers have either tied the game or given the Bombers a lead.
"I really think he’s on a mission right now," manager Aaron Boone said. "When he got that clean bill of health right before Summer Camp started and he started ramping up, there’s just been an intensity level to his work, an energy level to the work he’s been able to do and he’s just a great player that you can tell is feeling really good and I think continuing to actually get all the way locked in at the plate."
The win on Sunday clinched a series sweep over the Red Sox, giving New York a 7-1 record so far this summer. It was their sixth win in a row.
Personal accolades aside, Judge praised his teammates, overjoyed with the club's ability to find a way to win.
"We’re just clicking on all cylinders right now," he said. "Our offense is feeding off of each other, our bullpen is doing their job, we’re just having fun out there ... Tough grind tonight against the Red Sox, like it usually is, but some guys came up with some clutch hits and we were able to come out with the win."
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