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Aaron Judge's 60th Home Run Sparks 'Magical' Comeback Win

In a matter of minutes, Aaron Judge crushed his 60th homer of the season to make history and Giancarlo Stanton smacked a walk-off grand slam to give the Yankees a win.
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NEW YORK — Thousands of fans at Yankee Stadium flooded toward the exits as the Pirates took a four-run lead in the eighth inning on Tuesday night.

Little did they know that their bid to beat traffic stripped them of an opportunity to witness one of the most iconic and unforgettable innings in Yankees franchise history.

Aaron Judge began the bottom of the ninth by swatting his 60th home run of the season, tying Babe Ruth for the second-most home runs in a single season in franchise history. He's now one homer away from tying Roger Maris' American League record set back in 1961, becoming just the sixth player to ever hit 60 long balls in a single campaign in MLB history. 

That swing, the flight of his majestic 430-foot moonshot and Judge's subsequent curtain call, would've been enough to forget about a loss to Pittsburgh and how New York's bullpen surrendered seven runs in relief of starter Nestor Cortes. But the Yankees weren't done.

Down 8-5, a double from Anthony Rizzo, a walk from Gleyber Torres and a single from Josh Donaldson loaded the bases for Giancarlo Stanton, a struggling slugger who had nine hits in his last 82 at-bats.

Stanton proceeded to decimate a two-strike changeup from Pirates closer Wil Crowe—who was on the mound for all five plate appearances in the ninth—sending a walk-off grand slam screaming into the seats in left field. 

The 410-foot missile, scalded through the air at 118 mph, gave the Yankees an improbable 9-8 win. It was New York's seventh walk-off home run of the year, matching their franchise record (set back in 2009).

"One of those really magical innings," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said after the victory. "I think there's something to be said for [Judge's solo homer] igniting in a game where we're down four runs, igniting a little bit of a magical spark that went on tonight in that inning. That was special."

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Stanton is now the 11th Yankee to hit a walk-off grand slam and just the fourth to do so with New York trailing by three runs. Josh Donaldson also accomplished the feat this season, defeating the Rays on August 17 with a game-winning grand slam over the short porch. 

While Stanton was the hero, he unsurprisingly credited Judge for setting the tone in that ninth inning, praising his fellow larger-than-life slugger for reaching such a historic benchmark—a number Stanton narrowly missed during his 59-homer campaign in 2017 with the Marlins.

"It was a great spark for us," Stanton said. "It's always good to start off an inning like that, especially when we're down and to put it to their closer's confidence, too. That gives us more ability to work at-bats and just grind him down even more."

Judge, who was 0-for-3 with two groundouts and a strikeout, joked that was kicking himself as he rounded the bases, wishing he had homered earlier in the game when he had runners on base. Regardless, his historic blast came in a win and that's all he's ever wanted, something he's repeated over and over throughout this remarkable season.

"I haven't really been thinking about numbers or stats and stuff like that, I'm just trying to go out there and help my team win," Judge said. "At the time, it was a solo shot in the ninth, still down by a couple of runs, but we've always had, a never-die attitude. Fight until the end. You've got four guys right behind me with great at-bats one after the other against a great closer and it makes it that much sweeter, that's for sure."

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