NEW YORK — Aaron Judge bets on himself this spring when he turned down a deal that would have cost $230 million. Slugger is what he’s paying and if the Yankees want to keep him, they’re going to pay a heavy price now. Judge scored two home runs on Friday night, including his second Grand Slam of the season, scoring six runs and powering the Yankees to an 11-5 win over the Royals at Yankee Stadium.
It was the 29th win of the season for the Yankees (68–33), who held the best record in the American League. It was only the sixth time this season that he made a comeback and won at the end of the seventh innings after falling behind.
Judge’s second of the night, a 370-foot shot, closed an eight-run eighth inning rally that began when Andrew Benintendi, in his second game as a Yankee, “single”, first on a ground ball. In the eighth inning to drive the bar down into a run. With the bases loaded, Scott Barlow went into a game-tying run for Isiah Kiner-Falefa, who singled out the lead.
The 30-year-old judge hit his major league-leading 40th home run in the third inning of Royals lefty Chris Bubic. The 449-foot shot went up in left-central field and scored two. His second No. 41 captured the Yankees’ eight-run eighth inning. No other hitter has more than 32 so far.
His 39th, a game-winning, third-career “walk-off,” came less than 24 hours after hitting a home run. He has scored five runs in his last five matches, eight in his last eight and 11 runs in his last 13 matches. He is now on pace to score 66 home runs this season. The franchise record 61 was set by Roger Maris in 1961 and it still stands as the American League record.
In 2017, when Judge scored his career-high 52 home runs on his way to winning the American League Rookie of the Year award, he scored his 40th and 41st home runs on September 10 in his 142nd game of that season. Friday night was the Yankees’ 101st game and 98th game they’ve played.
The Yankees have scored 38 runs in their last eight matches, 19 of which were scored by the judge.
He also robbed a house on Friday night. MJ Melendez led the game with a deep fly ball, 357 feet to the wall of right field. The judge jumped up and caught him on the very edge of his glove, “Snow Conning,” to save a run for Gerrit Cole.
It’s been a prime season for Judge, who came playing for a contract when he hit the free agent market after turning down an extension offer at the end of the year.
So far, the bet on himself is paying that he will get the money in the neighborhood the Yankees gave to Cole, which has yet to affect the franchise that the judge has.
Cole allowed five earned runs off seven hits. He did not run a batsman and scored nine runs. The right-hander was coming off his third loss of the season, giving away the season’s high nine hits and three earned runs against the Orioles.
With two outs in the fifth, Cole could not slam the door after a few mistakes behind him.
Nicky Lopez’s chopper sprung into center field over a slipping Kinner-Flefa’s glove, which was ruled one. On the next play, MJ Melendez hit an infield grounder at first base. Anthony Rizzo lands it and tries to throw Cole back out of hand first. The catcher of the Royals defeated it. Neither was considered an error, but both were expensive.
Whit Merrifield then hit a single in right field to score two runs, and Salvador Perez was playing his first game after June 24 surgery to repair a ligament in his thumb that left the Yankees ace’s 424-footer. Shot crushed. It was the 17th home run that Cole allowed this season, seven shy of his total of 30 in the previous season.
Aroldis Chapman, in his new undefeated role, played an unscored sixth inning and Albert Abreu, who was released by the Royals earlier this season, hit an eighth.