Aaron Judge hits 56th and 57th homers of 2022 – MLB.com

Aaron Judge hits 56th and 57th homers of 2022 - MLB.com

BOSTON — Ask Aaron Judge about his massive lead in the American League home run and RBI races and the Yankees’ slugger echoes a thought of the great Satchel Paige, who famously remarked, “Don’t look back, something might win you over.” But let’s be honest — no one is catching him there, and besides, a Triple Crown may now be within reach.

Judge stands four swings away from Roger Maris’ 61-year-old AL record for home runs in a single season, belting his major league-leading 56th and 57th home runs in the Yankees. 7-6, 10-inning win over the Red Sox on Tuesday at Fenway Park. Judge’s three-hit performance raised his average to .310, nine points behind AL leader Luis Arraez (.319) of the Twins.

“As a kid, you’d look up and see Albert Pujols hitting .330 every year, consistently putting up RBI numbers,” Judge said. “For me, great batting has always been about average. I may be a little old school, but can you hit or can’t you? It was always my goal to try to get to that point. If I’m able to do that, I’ll help the team, be in a good place and win games.”

At 57, Judge has 20 more home runs than anyone else in the majors (Kyle Schwarber of the Nationals has 37). According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it is the first time a player will end a calendar day with at least a 20-homer lead since the last day of the 1928 season, when Babe Ruth led Jim Bottomley and Hack Wilson with 23 home runs.

“I’m out of adjectives,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “It’s really impressive.”

So the home run lead is safe, and Judge seems to be on solid ground in RBIs; with 123, judge owns a 14-RBI lead on the Guards José Ramírez. Judge’s average rose above .300 on Sept. 5 against Minnesota, though he still trails Arraez, the Red Sox’s Xander Bogaerts (.318) and the White Sox’s Jose Abreu (.312).

It is, like Yanks ace Gerrit Cole said, “one of the most historic offensive seasons of all time.”

Miguel Cabrera won the Majors’ last Triple Crown in 2012, when the Tigers’ star paced the AL in average (.330), home runs (44) and RBIs (139). Before then, no one had accomplished the feat since Carl Yastrzemski of the 1967 Red Sox, and no Yankee had done it since Mickey Mantle in 1956.

“Some great guys did it,” Judge said. “It’s pretty special, but I think I’m a long way from that.”

Gleyber Torres‘ Jeurys Familia’s three-run, 10th-inning double stood as the decisive blow in Tuesday’s contest, with Wanda Peralta endure a shaky home half to shout out a save. The big outbursts of a judge (plus one of Marvin Gonzalez) got them there, helping power New York’s seventh win in nine games.

“He’s going to go to free agency, and that’s a really good incentive for him,” Torres said of Judge. “For me, it’s not surprising. I know what kind of guy he is. He knows what he is doing. He basically hits everything. It’s really special and fun to watch.”

Judge connected for solo shots in the sixth and eighth innings, tying the game both times. No. 56 came on a hanging Nick Pivetta curveball that landed in Boston’s bullpen, coming off Judge’s bat at 109.7 mph and traveling 383 feet, as calculated by Statcast.

“Those pitches, they’re pretty slow,” Judge said. “You have to try to see it pop over the belt and get rid of the nasty thing that looks like a heater.”

Then in the eighth, Judge was at it again, sending a Garrett Whitlock slider over the Green Monster in left field for No. 57. That one came off Judge’s bat at 100.5 mph, traveling 389 feet.

“The only shots — obviously, it looks terrible, but we’ll take them as long as we stay in the game,” Boston manager Alex Cora said. “He was amazing.”

It marked Judge’s 10th multi-homer game of the season; Hank Greenberg holds the American League record with 11, set in 1938. Alex Rodriguez (2002) and Jimmie Foxx (1938) also had 10.

Judge’s 57 home runs are the most ever hit by a Yankee through 145 games, ahead of the steps set by Babe Ruth (56 in 1921) and Maris (55 in 1961). He reached base safely in 14 straight games and multiple times in 12 of those contests (.479, 23-for-48, eight home runs, 14 RBIs).

Most HR in a season, MLB history — with totals through 142 team games:
2001 Barry Bonds: 73 — 60
1998 Mark McGwire: 70 — 59
1998 Sammy Sosa: 66 — 58
2022 Aaron Judge: 65 (current pace) — 57
1999 Mark McGwire: 65 — 55
2001 Sammy Sosa: 64 — 54
1999 Sammy Sosa: 63 — 59
1961 Roger Maris: 61 — 55
1927 Babe Ruth: 60 — 52

“If you check the numbers, you’re going to get caught,” Judge said. “I keep trying to do what I can do. The numbers will take care of themselves. If I have a good plan, a good approach, do what I need to do in the box — all those other things will come up.”

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