NEW YORK (AP) — Aaron Judge kept up his bruised pace, hitting his 54th major league-leading homer, connecting for the third straight day on Monday for the New York Yankees. defeated the Minnesota Twins 5-2.
Judge has hit five homers in the last seven games for the leaders AL East. He was tied 2-2 in the sixth inning when he hit a 3-1 slider from Trevor Megill (3-2) into the second left deck.
“It’s hard to put words to what he does,” manager Aaron Boone said. “He has a special season.”
The All-Star slugger hit 54 home runs in his 131st game. He’s on course to hit 65 home runs, four more than Roger Maris’ 1961 AL record. Judge continued to downplay his quest for history.
“I just do my best every day,” Judge said. “I’m showing up to work ready to go and doing everything I can to help our team win today. Whether it’s pushing a guy, bringing a guy in, or playing defensively, that’s what I focus on.
Judge hits 54 home runs in New York’s 135th game; on September 6, 1961, Maris hit Washington’s Tom Cheney in New York’s 139th game, his 54th game.
“I’m watching this closely. How could you not? Boone said, adding, “It’s going to be pretty amazing.”
It’s the ninth time in his career that he’s hit three straight home runs and his third this season.
The judges also doubled. His final homer came after Gary Sanchez hit a 473-foot 2-run in the fifth inning into Jameson Tyrone’s left outfield to tie it at 2.
Judge closed the game with 18 homers past Philadelphia’s Kyle Schwaber for a major league lead. He’s 23 years ahead of Houston’s Jordan Alvarez in the AL.
“Now, especially the season he’s in, he’s been a very good player, even better than that,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. “This season he has been the best player we have seen in a long time.”
Sanchez hit his 14th home run to tie the game since the Yankees traded him to Minnesota’s Gio Urshela on March 13 for Josh Donaldson, Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Ben Rortvedt.
After receiving the ball, Sanchez watched the ball fly into the stands, he dropped his bat and ran around the base as some of his teammates slammed into the dugout railing.
Marwin Gonzalez also homered for the Yankees, ending an 0-29 slide with his first hit since July 6. Kiner-Falefa added his second homer in the seventh inning this year.
“It’s hard for me to hit just one,” Kiner-Falefa said of the judge. “Having him do what he’s done but still have hits and contribute in other ways with walks, especially when people don’t want to throw at him, I think that’s what makes him so impressive.”
Greg Weissert (2-0) pitched 1 1/3 innings.
Clay Holmes went 1-2-3 ninth in his 19th save.
Judge scored in Game 1 when he scored on a Donaldson single down the left outside wall. The judges scored before Donaldson seemed to think he was second after his home run.
New York was leading 2-0 when Gonzalez hit the slider to the right seat in the third quarter.
Tyrone had two hits and six hits in five innings. Three of them came in the fifth, and when Miranda tried to stretch his single in the fifth, he was helped by RF rookie Oswaldo Cabrera’s fourth career assist.
Tyrone threw for the first time since giving up in the second inning against the Angels on Tuesday, when he landed on his forearm.
Minnesota’s Chris Archer had two hits and four hits in five innings and was winless in his last 10 innings.
Twins: RF Max Kepler (tight hip) is a late scratch. He hit a batter in the ninth inning. … RHP Sonny Gray (tight right hamstring) will begin training in the bullpen on Tuesday, and his next start will be delayed until Thursday’s series finale in New York
Yankees: DH Giancarlo Stanton was relieved of a pinch hitter in the eighth inning after a left-footed foul in the sixth. Stanton grimaced, unable to support any weight on his left foot. Boone said he wasn’t sure Stanton would be available for Tuesday night’s game. … LF Andrew Benintendi will undergo surgery on Tuesday after breaking his right wrist during Friday night’s swing. Boone said Benin Tendi, who joined Kansas City in late July, could play again this season. “I think the possibility of his return is still in play,” Boone said. … 1B Anthony Rizzo (lower back) is expected to return to baseball on Wednesday. Rizzo was scheduled to return to baseball on Monday but suffered headaches from an epidural injection. … LHP Aroldis Chapman (leg infection) could have a bullpen meeting this week. … Harrison Budd (plantar fasciitis in his right foot) was hit in the cage and could start rehabilitation next week.
Minnesota RHP Joe Ryan (10-7, 3.88 ERA) Tuesday (5:30 p.m., 1060/103.1 KGFX) vs. New York RHP Gerrit Cole (10-7, 3.28). Kerr hit a career-high five homers in 2 1/3 innings at Minnesota on June 9.