Phillies survive late rally after strong Wheeler start, Judge drills walk-off home run against Royals

By Sports Desk July 28, 2022

The Philadelphia Phillies rode a strong starting pitching performance from Zack Wheeler to an 8-4 road victory against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Thursday.

All nine Phillies batters finished with at least one hit – racking up 15 total hits as a team – and it got started in the first inning as Darick Hall made it a 2-0 game with his two-run triple. Nick Castellanos then drove in Hall with a base hit to make it 3-0 in the opening frame.

Wheeler never gave the Pirates a chance to fight back into the contest, holding the home side scoreless until late in the seventh inning. He finished with two earned runs from three hits and three walks, striking out eight.

After Alec Bohm's base hit to make it 4-0 in the second inning, there was a lull in the action until Kyle Schwarber made his presence known in the sixth frame.

With two runners on base, Schwarber connected on his 32nd home run of the season, trailing only Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees.

The Pirates rallied hard in the last inning, scoring five runs from four hits off Jeurys Familia, but there was not much to cheer about up until that point, except for an exciting showing from rookie Cal Mitchell.

Mitchell delivered the only runs for his side in the first eight innings with his towering 414-foot, two-run homer to center-field off Wheeler. He finished three-for-four at the plate, also adding a pair of singles.

Judge does it again for the Yankees

Aaron Judge won the New York Yankees another game off his bat as he blasted the game-winning, walk-off home run to defeat the Kansas City Royals 1-0 at home.

Both sides pitched beautifully, with Royals starter Brady Singer giving up just one hit while striking out 10 in seven innings, while Yankees starter Jameson Taillon struck out eight batters in six scoreless frames.

The home run was Judge's league-leading 39th of the season – seven more than any other player.

Angels blow another Ohtani gem

The Los Angeles Angels wasted another terrific starting pitching performance from two-way All-Star Shohei Ohtani, going down 2-0 at home to the Texas Rangers.

Ohtani struck out 11 batters in six innings, giving up two runs from eight hits in his 10th quality start (meaning at least six innings pitched and three or fewer earned runs) of the season. He now has 145 strikeouts for the season – the sixth most in the majors, and the five players ahead of him have all started at least two more contests.

Only Atlanta Braves rookie Spencer Strider (13.4) has a higher strikeouts-per-nine-innings stat than Ohtani's 13.1.

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    Aaron Judge stands alone at the top of home run history in the American League after breaking Roger Maris' 61-year single-season homer record with his 62nd blast in the New York Yankees' 3-2 loss to the Texas Rangers on Tuesday.

    Judge, who had hit just one homer in his previous 13 games coming in, blasted a 1-1 slider off Rangers' pitcher Jesus Tinoco over the left-field fence for a lead-off homer to break the mark.

    The Yankees outfielder's home run was his 62nd of the season, surpassing Maris' 61-homer mark from 1961, which he had matched last Wednesday against the Toronto Blue Jays.

    The blast came in the Yankees' penultimate game of the regular season, with Judge's 62 homers sitting seventh for most in a single season in MLB history.

    Ahead of Judge are only three players, all from 1997 to 2001; Barry Bonds (73 in 2001), Mark McGwire (70 in 1999 and 65 in 1999) and Sammy Sosa (66 in 1998, 64 in 2001, 63 in 1999).

    The home run means 11 of Judge's past 14 blasts have come on the road. Gerrit Cole also made franchise history, reaching 257 strikeouts for the most in a single season for the Yankees.

    The Yankees were beaten after the Rangers added two fifth-inning runs, with the visitors having won the first game in the double header 5-4 when Judge went one-for-five with a single.

    Braves complete turnaround to clinch NL East

    Following their sweep over the New York Mets, the Atlanta Braves clinched their fifth straight National League (NL) East title with a 2-1 victory over the Miami Marlins.

    William Contreras drove in the go-ahead run in the fifth inning with an infield single, earning the reigning world champions a first-round bye as the NL second seed. The achievement comes after the Braves had trailed the Mets by 10-and-a-half games in June.

    Jake Odorizzi had seven strikeouts across five innings, while Kenley Jansen recorded his 41st save with a perfect ninth inning. Ronald Acuna Jr hit a second-inning single to give the Braves an early lead.

    AL seeds locked in as Verlander stars for Astros

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    That result meant the Tampa Bay Rays were locked for the third AL Wild Card spot, not helped by a 6-0 loss to the Boston Red Sox where Xander Bogaerts delivered a fifth-inning grand slam.

    Meanwhile, the Houston Astros go into the postseason as the AL top seed after a 10-0 win over the Philadelphia Phillies where Cy Young Award favourite Justin Verlander had 10 K's and kept the opposition hitless until the ninth inning.

  • 'It's a big relief' - Judge blown away after surpassing Maris' AL record with 62nd home run 'It's a big relief' - Judge blown away after surpassing Maris' AL record with 62nd home run

    History-maker Aaron Judge admits finally breaking Roger Maris' American League single-season home run record is a "big relief" after launching his 62nd blast against the Texas Rangers on Tuesday.

    Judge's lead-off homer for the New York Yankees surpassed Maris' 61-year record, having matched the mark last Wednesday, going five games without a homer leading up.

    The Yankees outfielder's 62nd home run for the season came in their penultimate regular season game, putting him seventh all-time for homers in a single season.

    Judge had already exceeded Babe Ruth's mark from 1927 of 60 home runs in a season, before getting past Maris with 61 from 1961.

    "It's a big relief," Judge said. "I think that everyone can sit back down in their seats and watch the ball game, you know? But it's been a fun ride so far.

    "Getting a chance to do this, with the team we've got, the guys surrounding me, the constant support from my family whose been with me through this whole thing, it's been a great honor.

    "Getting a chance to have my name next to someone as great as Roger Maris, Babe Ruth, those guys, is incredible."

    Judge's pursuit of his 62nd home run has felt like a circus with the anticipation surrounding him every time he was at bat, from both the dugout and the stands.

    The outfielder's teammates gathered at the home plate after his historic home run to congratulate him, before receiving a standing ovation from the Texas crowd.

    "Pretty surreal," Judge said. "Just like in Toronto, it was pretty awesome, having their support. I think, in Texas, they were a little more excited, they could finally exhale.

    "At home, in the dugout, I can see right in and see all the guys sitting at the top steps. Here on the road, they are behind me, so I didn't see the 40-plus people sitting in the dugout.

    "To finally see them run out on the field, and get a chance to hug them all, that's what it's about for me."

    Yankees pitcher Gerrit Cole, who made his own history with a franchise record 257th strikeout in a single season, was glowing in praise of Judge.

    "Even just to tie the record, let alone break it is a bit surreal," Cole said. "And obviously, on a night like tonight, it's just like, 'Woah'… It's hard to put into words."

    Judge has hit the most home runs in a single season of any center fielder in MLB history, previously 56 held by Hack Wilson (1930) and Ken Griffey Jr (1997 and 1998).

    The Yankee's latest blast means he is 16 homers ahead of the MLB's next best, Kyle Schwarber with 46. Judge's 16-homer lead is the largest since Jimmie Foxx's 17-homer margin over Ruth from 1932.

    Judge's 62 home runs have totaled a distance of 25,520 feet which is nearly five miles, and a single-season record since Statcast started tracking that in 2015, exceeding teammate Giancarlo Stanton's 2017 mark of 24,641 feet.

  • Judge crushes 62nd home run to break Maris' AL single-season record Judge crushes 62nd home run to break Maris' AL single-season record

    Aaron Judge is officially the home run king after blasting his 62nd homer to break Roger Maris' long-standing mark for the American League's (AL) single-season record.

    The New York Yankees outfielder crushed the historic homer into left field in the first inning of Tuesday's game on the road against the Texas Rangers, their penultimate regular-season game.

    Judge had matched Maris' 61-homer AL and Yankees record last Wednesday with a blast against the Toronto Blue Jays.

    However, the Yankee had endured 23 plate appearances or five games since without a home run but he broke the drought early from Rangers pitcher Jesus Tinoco.

    Maris' record had stood since 1961, edging Babe Ruth's previous record of 60 in 1927.

    Only three players have scored more homers in a single season for any franchise than Judge; Barry Bonds (73 in 2001), Mark McGwire (70 in 1999 and 65 in 1999) and Sammy Sosa (66 in 1998, 64 in 2001, 63 in 1999). Those three players all achieved the feat during the steroid era.

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