MLB

Aaron Judge sets new career-high with 53rd home run in Yankees win, Giants win on a walk-off

By Sports Desk September 04, 2022

Another day, another Aaron Judge home run as the New York Yankees slugger wasted no time extending his league-lead in Sunday's 2-1 win away from home against the Tampa Bay Rays.

As the very first batter of the game, on the second pitch, Judge connected on a 450-foot bomb deep over the left-field wall. 

It was his 53rd home run of the season – and his fourth from his past six games – setting a new career-high after totalling 52 in 2017. He is now eight home runs away from Roger Maris' Yankees record of 61 – set 61 years ago, in 1961.

The AL MVP favourite is also now 17 home runs clear of second-placed Kyle Schwarber of the Philadelphia Phillies, who has 36.

Judge's shot would be the only score from the first six innings against the Rays as Yankees starting pitcher Frankie Montas continued to find some form following a rough start to his time in New York since being traded at the deadline from the Oakland Athletics.

Montas pitched five near-perfect innings, giving up one hit and no walks to go with seven strikeouts.

The Yankees were able to add an insurance run in the seventh frame thanks to a sacrifice-fly from Oswaldo Cabrera, and although closing pitcher Clay Holmes did give up a run, he was able to complete the save for his 18th of the season.

With the win, the Yankees now hold a five-game lead over the Rays for the AL East lead, and they are six games behind the Houston Astros in the race for the best record in the American League.

Gallen extends historic scoreless streak

Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Zac Gallen is in the midst of the eighth-longest scoreless streak in MLB history as he pitched another seven shutout innings in a 5-1 win against the Milwaukee Brewers.

It has been 41-and-a-third innings since Gallen has allowed a run, and in the process he has become the fourth pitcher in the modern era to pitch six consecutive games with at least six scoreless innings – joining Don Drysdale (Dodgers, 1968), Orel Hershiser (Dodgers, 1988) and Zack Greinke (Dodgers, 2015). With one more scoreless inning, he will break the Diamondbacks' franchise record.

The 27-year-old now sports an 11-2 record this season with a 2.42 ERA and a 0.92 WHIP, establishing himself as one of the top arms in the league.

Giants walk-off after duelling home runs late

The San Francisco Giants treated their fans to one of the most enjoyable spectacles in sport as they ended their 5-3 win against the Philadelphia Phillies with a walk-off home run.

With the Giants leading 3-0 in the eighth inning – thanks in large part to a terrific 10-strikeout performance from ace Carlos Rodon – Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto erased the deficit with one swing as he connected on a three-run home run.

Needing a run in the bottom of the ninth to win, after Bryce Johnson got on base, Wilmer Flores was the hero for the night as he launched the game-winner hard and flat over the left-field wall to send the fans home happy.

Related items

  • 'It's out of my price range' – Aaron Judge rules out $3million-plus auction bid for 62nd home run ball 'It's out of my price range' – Aaron Judge rules out $3million-plus auction bid for 62nd home run ball

    Aaron Judge is resigned to being an intrigued observer when the ball he struck for a record-breaking 62nd home run goes up for auction – declaring he cannot afford to join the bidding race.

    The 30-year-old set a single-season Yankees and AL home-run record by reaching 62 to surpass Roger Maris Sr's 61 – set 61 years ago in 1961.

    Judge became the fourth major league player to hit 62 or more homers in a single season, and his feat belongs in baseball legend, making the ball that saw him set the record on October 4 especially valuable.

    It occurred at the home of the Texas Rangers in Arlington, with the spectator at Globe Life Field that caught the ball striking lucky by guaranteeing himself an apparent fortune.

    According to ESPN, that man, Cory Youmans, decided to put the ball in the hands of Goldin Auctions "after weeks of a lot of deep conversations" with his wife and lawyer.

    Youmans said: "It seems fair in the sense it gives anyone that is interested and has the means the opportunity to own it. As a fan, I'm curious to see what it's worth, who buys it and what they do with it."

    Youmans is said to have already turned down $3million for the ball, with his lawyer, Dave Baron, suspecting the final selling price could be "significantly higher based on New York, the New York fan base and how crazy it could get at an auction".

    That rules Judge out of contention, as he said the ball is "out of my price range right now".

    The ball is listed with a starting bid of $1million, with the auction due to get under way on November 30.

    Judge said of the seller's choice: "He caught the ball, he's the one that made the play out there in left field, so it's his right to do what he wants with it. Hopefully he's making the right decision for him and his family.''

    The ball's value will not have been harmed by Judge winning the AL Most Valuable Player (MVP) award ahead of Los Angeles Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani on Thursday.

  • History-making Judge and Goldschmidt crowned MVPs for the first time History-making Judge and Goldschmidt crowned MVPs for the first time

    Aaron Judge has capped his historic season after being crowned the AL Most Valuable Player (MVP) ahead of Los Angeles Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani on Thursday.

    St Louis Cardinals slugger Paul Goldschmidt was also voted the NL MVP, beating out Manny Machado of the San Diego Padres and teammate Nolan Arenado for the award.

    Judge's MVP, the first in his career, came after he broke the single-season Yankees and AL home-run record, reaching 62 to surpass Roger Maris Sr's 61 – set 61 years ago in 1961. He became the fourth major league player to hit 62 or more homers in a single season.

    The Yankees outfielder led the AL in home runs (62), RBIs (131), slugging percentage (.686), on-base percentage (.425), OPS (1.111) and total bases (391), while he chased an AL Triple Crown down the stretch, but ultimately fell short as Minnesota Twins' utility Luis Arraez (.316) won the batting title.

    Judge received 28 first-place votes for 410 points, ahead of Ohtani (280) and Houston Astros' Yordan Alvarez (232).

    The 30-year-old already had two top-five MVP finishes on his resume, in 2017 and 2021, winning Silver Slugger awards in both years.

    Yankees manager Aaron Boone said: "I’m grateful that I got to witness it first-hand and share in his magical year, especially given how much respect I have for him as a player and as a person."

    Goldschmidt looked like the NL MVP since the All-Star break, batting .317 while leading the NL in OPS (.982) and slugging percentage (.578).

    The Cardinals first baseman's 35 home runs finished one off his career-high, set in 2013 and equalled in 2017, giving him his seventh season with at least 30 dingers.

    Goldschmidt won the MVP with 380 voting points, ahead of Machado (291) and Arenado (232). It is the sixth time in 35-year-old Goldschmidt's career that he has finished in the top-six for the award.

    "I think definitely as you age, you have to adapt, and that's some of what I've tried to do. I've tried to get ahead of it," Goldschmidt told MLB Network. "I think it was my best season."

  • Harper to have elbow surgery, timeline for 2023 return uncertain Harper to have elbow surgery, timeline for 2023 return uncertain

    Philadelphia Phillies star Bryce Harper will have surgery on his right elbow next week although the exact operation and recovery timeline is still uncertain.

    Harper will have surgery on November 23 to address the tear in the ulnar collateral ligament he suffered back in April.

    Phillies president Dave Dombrowski said on Wednesday the surgeons won’t know until surgery begins if they’ll be performing Tommy John surgery or a less intensive repair of the existing UCL.

    ''We have no prognosis, really, until he goes into the elbow and takes a look at it,'' Dombrowski said of the surgeon. '

    'We'll have something at that time with the surgery and the anticipation something will happen. I would think it will slow him down for the season. We'll know more next week.''

    If he does have Tommy John surgery, recovery could force him to miss the first few months of the 2023 season. If it’s just a repair, he may only miss the season’s first week or two.

    After injuring his elbow in April, Harper switched from right field to designated hitter to avoid the wear and tear of throwing.

    He received a platelet-rich plasma injection shot in his elbow in May in an effort to repair it. But on Monday, Harper met with renowned orthopedist Dr. Neal ElAttrache, who determined surgery was necessary because the tear did not heal on its own.

    ''We always knew that was a possibility,'' Dombrowski said. ''We've known that for months.''

    Despite playing in pain and missing two months with a broken thumb sustained when he was hit by a pitch, Harper still excelled in helping the Phillies reach the World Series, where they lost to the Astros.

    In 99 games, the two-time NL MVP slashed .286/.364/.514 with 18 home runs, 28 doubles, 65 RBIs and 63 runs. He hit six more homers in 17 playoff games, and was named the NLCS MVP after hitting a dramatic game-winning homer in the series-clinching victory over the Padres.

    ''You don't ever want to lose Bryce, you really don't,'' Phillies manager Rob Thomson said. ''He's one of the best hitters in baseball, if not the best.

    "We spent a lot of time last year without him. Guys responded. It gave opportunities to other people to step up and they did. While we will be missing him, and looking forward to getting him back, it'll give somebody else an opportunity.''

    The Phillies open the season March 30 at Texas.

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