A rain-induced Monday afternoon game has emerged as maybe the most significant of Aaron Judge‘s career to date. The rookie phenom is powering the New York Yankees‘ effort in a home tilt against the Kansas City Royals while hitting two home runs in the process.
Each blast also proved historic for the 6-7 right fielder.
Judge clubbed home runs No. 49 and No. 50 on Monday, tying and then breaking Mark McGwire’s major league record for the home runs as a rookie. McGwire held this mark for 30 years, setting it with the 1987 Oakland Athletics. Former Athletics pitcher Trevor Cahill coughed up Judge’s record-breaker — a solo shot in the seventh inning to put the Yankees up, 7-3.
Judge has heated up lately after enduring a mostly difficult second half. His post-All-Star break stretch included setting a position-player record for strikeouts in consecutive games, so there are still parts of his game the 25-year-old success story needs to iron out. However, this record may be difficult to approach, and Judge still has a week of games to add to it.
The former Fresno State talent is 2-for-4 on Monday with two home runs — with the other coming in the third inning of Kansas City starter Jake Junis. These blasts raised Judge’s average to .283. McGwire hit .289 and struck out 131 times when he set the record. Judge struck out once against the Royals as well, inflating his season total to 203.
Judge is also the fifth Yankee to bash 50 home runs in a season, joining Babe Ruth (four times), Mickey Mantle (twice), Roger Maris (1961) and Alex Rodriguez (2007). Judge’s 50th surpassed Lou Gehrig, who hit 49 twice, on that hallowed list.
By Sam Robinson