Aaron Judge Hits 61st Homer! Game Winner! NY 8 Toronto 3

Aaron Judge Hits 61st Homer in the 7th Inning -- a 2-run shot to put NY on top 5-3.

Aaron Judge not only hit his 61st homer — but as usual it was a pivotal hit: the game winner, launching the Yanks to an 8-3 win over the Blue Jays in Toronto on a Wednesday night.

It had been 6 long days between homers — as pitchers for Boston and Toronto kept walking Judge. Judge walked 4 times just the night before (and scored twice). And he walked leading off in this game — and came around to score.

Judge and the Yanks scored 3 in the first and Gerrit Cole was cruising with a perfect game and 3-0 lead through 5 innings, but just after Cole tied Ron Guidry‘s all-time Yankee single-season strikeout record with 248, things fell apart for him in the bottom of the 6th. The Blue Jays tied the score 3-3 and it was game back on.

But Aaron Judge put the Yanks right back in command 5-3 with his 2-run homer in the top of the 7th.

“Definitely some relief, getting to 61,” said Aaron Judge afterwards. “You try not to think about it but it creeps into your head. But getting a chance to do it in a Yankee win, and especially on a night where Gerrit Cole ties the all-time, single-season strikeout record, that’s a pretty special day right there.”

Judge went 1-4 on the night with the walk — and maintains the lead in the AL batting title race by a hair:

  1. Aaron Judge .313
  2. Luis Arraez .313
  3. Xander Bogaerts .309
  4. Nathaniel Lowe .305
  5. Jose Abreu .305

1. Judge & Yanks Jump On Top

Aaron Judge led off the top of the 1st with yet another walk — this time by Blue Jays starter Mitch White, who entered with 1-6 5.12 record. It marked the 5th straight time Toronto had walked Judge — they had walked him the last 4 times he was up the night before.

And again, the walk hurt Toronto as Judge came around to score.

White wasn’t walking Judge on purpose just being very careful and giving him little over the strike zone. White then walked Oswaldo Cabrera and allowed consecutive RBI singles to Josh Donaldson and Oswaldo Peraza and it was 2-0 NY with nobody out.

A sac fly by Marwin Gonzalez gave the Yanks a 3-0 lead.

White escaped more trouble in the 2nd (leadoff singled by Tim Locastro and Aaron Hicks) but got Judge on a fly and got out of the inning, and more trouble in the 4th (1-out double by Locastro and walk by Hicks), but got Judge to ground out and escaped the trouble again.

2. Cole Perfect Game thru 5, Blows Up in 6th

Meanwhile Gerrit Cole was brilliant — pitching a perfect game through 5 innings with the 3-0 lead.

He struck out Ramiel Tapia to tie Ron Guidry‘s single-season Yankee strikeout record of 248. Cole’s season hasn’t been nearly as spectacular as Guidry’s 25-3 1.78 season of 1978 so not much has been made about Cole’s pursuit.

In the bottom of the 6th, he was on the verge of breaking the record when he went 0-2 on catcher Danny Jansen. But just like that — he lost it. Three straight balls to Jansen, then a foul ball, and then a 408-foot homer to left for a 3-1 game.

Cole imploded — a single by Whit Merrifield, a walk to Jackie Bradley Jr. a lineout by George Springer for the 1st out, and infield single by Bo Bichette made it a 3-2 game.

Cole balked the runners to 2nd and 3rd, then allowed a sac fly to Vlad Guerrero Jr for tie game 3-3.

Finally he got Teoscar Hernandez on a line out to center. Bronx cheer.

3. Judge Hits 61st

To the rescue — Aaron Judge.

Hicks singled to lead off the 7th off reliever Tim Mayza. The count went 2-2 on Judge. Then a ball. Then a foul ball. Then another foul ball. 3-2 pitch…

Judge hit a 394-foot line drive to right — homerun! NY back on top 5-3.

4. Bader Insurance

The Yanks got an important insurance run in the shadows of Judge’s 7th inning — Oswaldo Peraza reached on an infield single, went to 2nd on a wild pitch, and scored on a Harrison Bader line single to center for a 6-3 NY lead.

5. Britton, Effross Get Looks

Cole was back out for the bottom of the 7th and got Matt Chapman to ground out before Zach Britton was brought in for another look. He got an out before walking two and was yanked for Scott Effross who got the last out of the inning.

6. Toronto Gifts Yanks 2 More Runs

Adam Cimber pitched the 9th for Toronto and gifted the Yanks 2 runs. Oswaldo Cabrera doubled to lead off the inning, and Cimber then hit Josh Donaldson with a pitch. The runners were moved to 2nd and 3rd on a groundout by Peraza back to Cimber.

Harrison Bader then hit a comebacker to Cimber — and Cimber had Cabrera dead to rights at home plate but he threw it away for 2 runs.

7. Schmidt & Chapman Close It

Clarke Schmidt pitched a shutout 8th (walk, singled, doubleplay, strikeout) and Aroldis Chapman pitched a 1-2-3 inning in the 9th (strikeout, strikeout, groundout) for the old ballgame.

Who Caught the Ball

Blue Jay’s pitching coach Matt Bushman caught the ball in the Toronto bullpen. His wife is Sports Reporter Sarah Walsh. They live in Florida, which was getting hit with a hurricane during the day.

She tweeted this right after the homer:

then this:

Finally this:

Jokes aside, she reported that “Matt Buschmann wasn’t forced to give the ball back but he handed it over to Zack Britton. @Busch26 told me: “The Judge and Maris family have been flying all over the country. They deserve to have that ball.”


The Boxscore


Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.