• Baseball

‘Judge-ment’ day as Yankees slugger hits 61st home run

Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 28, 2022; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; New York Yankees designated hitter Aaron Judge (99) hits his 61st home run scoring two runs against the Toronto Blue Jays during the seventh inning at Rogers Centre.
Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
New York Yankees designated hitter Aaron Judge (99) embraces Roger E. Maris Jr. at the end of the game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre.

TORONTO (Reuters) – New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge smashed his 61st home run of the year on Wednesday to tie the American League single-season record set in 1961 by Roger Maris.

The record-tying moment came in the top of the seventh inning when Judge took a 3-2 offering from Toronto Blue Jays reliever Tim Mayza and crushed it over the left field wall.

After Toronto had tied the game at 3-3 in the bottom of the sixth Judge, who walked in his first at-bat, flied out in his second and grounded out in his third, stepped up to the plate.

Then, with the entire Yankees dugout and 37,000 spectators on their feet, Judge lined the history-making shot over the fence, dropped his bat and rounded the bases to appreciative applause.

Judge’s mother and Roger Maris Jr, watching from the front row behind the Yankees dugout, hugged and cheered as the ball sailed over the wall at the Rogers Centre into the Toronto bull pen to give New York a 5-3 lead

Without a home run for seven consecutive games there seemed to be as much relief as celebration for the big out-fielder as he jogged around the bases and touched home plate.

Judge had moved to within one of the AL record last Tuesday when he joined Babe Ruth (1927), Maris, Barry Bonds (2001), Mark McGwire (1998, 1999) and Sammy Sosa (1998, 1999, 2001) as the only players to hit 60 home runs in a season.

With just seven games remaining in the regular season breaking the single-season home run record of 73 that Bonds set in 2001is almost certainly out of Judge’s powerful reach.

But he will return home to the Bronx a hero for a three-game series against the Baltimore Orioles starting on Friday where he can claim sole ownership of the AL record.

Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
New York Yankees designated hitter Aaron Judge (99) celebrates with New York Yankees shortstop Oswald Peraza (91) after hitting his 61st home run scoring two runs against the Toronto Blue Jays during the seventh inning at Rogers Centre.