Judge 4 Hits (HR & 3 Doubles), Stroman Shutout Ball Pace Yanks. NY 4 Minny 0

This is starting to feel the way it was in 1998, when the Yankees set a record for wins in a season with 114:

The Yankee starters were dueling each other, each one trying to out-do the start of the prior game’s starter in a friendly rivalry. NY had a great starting staff of David Cone, David Wells, Andy Pettitte, and Hideki Irabu (was 6-1 1.59 on June 10th) — and then Orlando Hernandez, aka El Duque, joined the staff in June and really put them over the top.

This year, the Yanks have a great starting staff of Carlos Rodon (4-2 3.31), Nestor Cortes (1-4 4.02), Marcus Stroman (3-2 3.33), Luis Gil (4-1 2.51), and Clarke Schmidt (4-1 2.95) — and Gerrit Cole is due to join the staff in June.

On this night, Marcus Stroman one-upped the start that Carlos Rodon threw down the game before — Stroman pitching 6 shutout innings.

Aaron Judge provided a great deal of the offense, going 4-4 with a walk, a Homer, and 3 doubles — driving in 2 runs and scoring 2. Judge remains RED HOT — his batting average, which was in the .170’s three weeks ago, is now at .255 and his slash line is 11-29-.255 (.386 OBP). He is 2 homers off the pace for the league lead.

The Yankee bullpen of Luke Weaver and Caleb Ferguson did the rest in the easy 4-0 win over the Twins in Minnesota on a Wednesday night.

“Man — first pitch of the day to him and .. he felt a little oversized for the park,” said manager Aaron Boone afterwards about Judge’s HR in the 1st. “That’s cleaning out a good fastball right there and leaving no doubt. What a show he put on today.”

NY improves to 29-15 and remains in 1st by a half game over Baltimore. Minnesota drops to 24-18.

1. Stroman Gritty

Marcus Stroman was gritty and great — pitching like a pitcher’s pitcher; working the zone with a variety of pitches; setting down the Twins; working out of any jams. A joy to watch. And sporting a beautiful light green glove — just as pretty as the light blue glove he has.

Stroman pitched a 1-2-3 inning in the 1st but then ran into trouble in the 2nd — a 1-out error by Anthony Volpe and then 2 walks sandwiching a strikeout loaded the bases with 2 outs. But Stroman got Jose Miranda to ground out to end the threat.

Stroman pitched around a leadoff double in the 3rd and leadoff single in the 4th — in each inning getting the next 3 batters.

He allowed a 2-out walk in the 5th and pitched a 1-2-3 inning in the 6th and left after 91 pitches; his line: 6 innings, 2 hits, 2 K’s, 3 walks. He wins to go 3-2 3.33.

“Gritty,” said Boone about Stroman’s performance. “Kind of grinded through it. First couple times through, they scored some balls up on him, but he just doesn’t give in; makes pitches when he needs to and actually that 3rd time through I thought he got pretty sharp; lot of weak contact. Just I thought a really gritty 6 shutout. Set the tone for us. Knew we were going up against a tough pitcher. Gave us just what we needed.”

2. Judge BLAST Puts Yanks Up 1-0 in 1st

The Yanks were up against Pablo Lopez, the ace of the Minnesota staff, who came in with a 4-2 3.89 record.

The Yanks machine-gunned Lopez all night for 10 hits against him in 6 innings, starting in the bottom of the 1st with a 467-foot BLAST into the left field upper deck by Aaron Judge for a 1-0 Yankee lead.

3. Yanks Machine Gun Runs in 2nd & 3rd

NY continued to strafe Lopez in the 2nd — consecutive 1-out singles by Gleyber Torres, Jose Trevino, and Oswaldo Cabrera loaded the bases with 1 out, and a line-drive sac fly to center by Anthony Volpe made it 2-0 Yanks.

Willi Castro, the Twins centerfielder, thought his catch of the ball was the 3rd out so started running in thinking the inning had ended — but even if he threw home, he probably would not have gotten Gleyber. Next batter hit a fly to Castro for the real 3rd out of the inning — Castro caught the ball and then spun and rifled it to the fans in the centerfield seats — mad at himself for the prior blunder.

NY continued their machine-gun attack in the 3rd: Aaron Judge leading off with a double, Alex Verdugo singling him to 3rd, and Giancarlo Stanton singling Judge home to make it 3-0.

Anthony Rizzo hit into a double play to stifle further scoring in the inning.

4. Judge-Soto Hook Up for Insurance Run in 7th

Aaron Judge doubled in the 5th — his 3rd hit in 3 times up — and then in the 7th hooked up with Juan Soto for back-to-back doubles to make it 4-0 NY.

Judge came up in the 9th and walked — finishing the evening 4-4 with a walk, a Homer and 2 doubles — raising his average to  .255 (.386 OBP).

5. Weaver Great

Luke Weaver was terrific again. He pitched a shutout 7th, allowing a 1-out single — and then got into a little trouble in the 8th, allowing a 1-out walk and then a single — but got out of it with an inning-ending double play.

Two shutout innings for Weaver, lowering his ERA to 2.25.

6. Caleb the Finish

With NY up 4-0 in the 9th, Caleb Ferguson was sent out for the ‘finish’ and pitched a 1-2-3 inning for the old ballgame.

The Boxscore



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