NEW YORK — Only five players had hit 60 home runs in a single season in major league history — that is, until New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge joined this exclusive club with a solo home run against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday night. .
The judge lit a lead from right-hander Wil Crowe leading the last frame and drove it 430 feet into the left-field bleachers, sparking a five-run rally in the ninth inning for a 9-8 win.
He took a rare recall, forced by his teammates.
“I really didn’t want to do it, especially since we’re losing. It’s a solo shot,” he said.
“He turned 60 tonight, and it’s like nothing happened. He has more work to do, and that’s the mindset, and that’s how it will be. always. It’s fun to be a part of it,” said Giancarlo Stanton, who delivered a game-ending grand slam.
The All-Star outfielder is now one home run away from tying Roger Maris’ American League single-season record of 61 home runs, set in 1961, which also stood as the major league mark for 37 years.
With his 60th home run, the 6-foot-7 umpire tied Babe Ruth (1927) for eighth on the single-season home run list.
“I don’t think about numbers,” Judge said. “When you talk about Ruth and Maris and [Mickey] Mantle and all those great Yankees who did so many great things in this game, you never imagine as a kid being mentioned with them. It’s an incredible honor. This is something that I do not take lightly at all. But we are not done. We still have a few games left this season and hopefully a few more wins will come with them.
“I try to enjoy it all, absorb it all, but I know I still have work to do on the pitch every day and I just have to keep my head down, keep preparing and stay mentally focused. “
The Yankees held a 5½ game AL East lead over the Toronto Blue Jays.
Judge’s 60th home run came from a pitcher whose great-great-uncle, Hall of Famer Red Ruffing, was Ruth’s teammate with the Yankees in the 1930s. Crowe visited Ruffing’s plaque at the Monument Park at Yankee Stadium before the game.
“[Judge] did what he was supposed to do with it,” Crowe said, “count 3-1, I’m not going to put it. I felt like I wanted to run after him. He left, he came back. He put a good swing on a bad pitch.
Roger Maris Jr. and Kevin Maris, son of the former player, were both present. Specially marked balls were used whenever the judge walked to home plate. Fans seated in the outfield seats stood up and many groaned with each foul ball.
But they burst with Judge’s shot in the ninth.
“I think there’s something to be said for that kind of ignition, in a game where we lost four points, setting off a kind of magical spark that kind of happened tonight in that inning. It was special,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. said.
There have now been nine 60-home run seasons in MLB history, by six different players. Judge joined Hall of Famers Ruth and Maris, along with Barry Bonds (2001), Mark McGwire (1999, 1998) and Sammy Sosa (2001, 1999, 1998).
Judge’s 59 home runs were already the most by a right-handed hitter in AL history. Judge had also previously joined Ruth (four) and Mickey Mantle (two) as the third member of the legendary Yankees franchise to have multiple 50 HR seasons while wearing stripes.
Judge also took the lead in the Triple Crown on Tuesday night, with his .316 batting average moving to the AL lead as Minnesota Twins first baseman Luis Arraez fell to .314. Judge, who is anything but a lock to lead the league in home runs and RBIs (128), has a shot at becoming the 11th player to win the Triple Crown since RBIs became official in 1920.
He is the first player since Miguel Cabrera won the Triple Crown in 2012 to lead all three categories in September or later, and the first Yankee to do so since Mantle won the Triple Crown in 1956, according to Elias’ research. Sports Office.
Nobody else in the majors has more than 40 homers.
“To be this far ahead of the pack,” Boone marveled, “it’s hard for me to grasp.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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