Aaron Judge’s 13th homer leads Yankees to third-best record since 1956

Yankees star Aaron Judge reacts after hitting a home run against the Padres in San Diego on May 25, 2024.

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Aaron Judge is in sizzling form and Yankees fans, who chanted “M-V-P” for Juan Soto, can’t ignore the same for their captain. The slugger continued his torrid stretch of hammering homers on Saturday night, blasting his 17th home run in the Yankees’ 4-1 win over the San Diego Padres before a sellout crowd of 44,845 at Petco Park.

The 2022 American League MVP has been on a tear for the better part of a month. Aaron Judge has hit 11 homers in the last 19 games, leading the Yankees’ charge in many of those contests. 

On Saturday, Aaron Judge got the Yankees on the board in the first inning when he crushed a 2-0 knuckle-curve from Dylan Cease. The ball left his bat at 113.7 mph and traveled 429 feet into the left-field second deck for a 2-0 lead, according to Statcast data.

It marked the second straight night Aaron Judge reached the second deck in left field. Padres manager Bob Melvin noted that Cease had allowed just two homers to right-handed batters all season before the Yankees hero’s hammering of him.

Aaron Judge added a double in the fourth inning as he extended his homer streak to four games. When asked about the “MVP” chants ringing out from the Yankee faithful, he deflected, saying his focus was solely on helping the team win games.

The 30-year-old is making a strong case to repeat as AL MVP. He leads the majors in homers, runs batted in (38), on-base percentage (.421), and ranks second in batting average (.338) and slugging (.707).

Aaron Judge’s latest big night at the plate extended his torrid run to 36-for-90 (.400) with 13 homers, 12 doubles, 23 walks, and 26 RBIs over his last 27 games, according to baseball researcher Katie Sharp.

The 2022 AL MVP has been locked in for nearly a month. His 15 hits over the last 11 games have gone for extra bases – eight doubles and seven homers. Aaron Judge is the only player since at least 1901 with at least 12 doubles and 11 home runs in any 20-game span.

His fourth-inning double allowed him to score a run, giving the Yankees a 3-0 lead at the time. Judge finished the night hitting .280 with a 1.050 OPS overall.

Aaron Judge entered May on a tear and hasn’t let up. His 11 doubles and 10 homers through May 27th made him just the fifth Yankee ever with at least 10 doubles and 10 homers in a calendar month. Jason Giambi was the last to do it in May 2002.

The Yankees star slugger has certainly done more than that. His latest homer extended his streak to four straight games with a long ball as the Yankees won their fourth consecutive contest.

New York Yankees’ Aaron Judge, right, celebrates with teammate Alex Verdugo after hitting a two-run home run during the first inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres, Saturday, May 25, 2024, in San Diego.
AP Photo/Gregory Bull

Aaron Judge leads Yankees to a record-winning streak

Aaron Judge is on a tear, hitting .391 (36-for-92) with a 1.458 OPS, 12 doubles, and 13 homers over his last 27 games. In his past 20 games, he has smashed 12 doubles and 11 home runs.

Saturday’s game marked the third time in Aaron Judge’s career he has homered in four consecutive games. The last time he achieved this feat was during his historic 62-homer season in September 2022. His latest homer tied him for the major league lead with 17 this year.

As Aaron Judge excels, so do the Yankees (37-17). They have surged during their captain’s hot streak, winning 17 of their last 21 games, including 12 of the last 15. New York has claimed 18 of its past 23 games to secure the American League’s best record.

Marcus Stroman benefited from an early 2-0 lead courtesy of Aaron Judge’s first-inning blast. The right-hander allowed just three hits over six scoreless innings to earn the victory.

The game saw a brief delay in the third inning when Juan Soto struck out looking to end the frame. Soto, known for his keen eye, disputed a called strike by umpire Bill Miller and engaged in an extended discussion. Neither Soto nor Miller appeared overly heated. Aaron Judge and Boone briefly joined the conversation to help defuse tensions before Soto returned to the dugout.

Clay Holmes struck out one in a perfect ninth inning to record his 15th save in 17 chances, sealing the Yankees’ fourth straight win.

Aaron Judge led the way once again, homering in his fourth straight game and adding a double. According to Yankees manager Aaron Boone, Judge’s locked-in approach and professionalism have fueled the team’s early-season surge.

Aaron Judge opened the fourth inning with a double down the left-field line. Alex Verdugo followed with a single before Anthony Rizzo‘s RBI hit made it 3-0. Gleyber Torres‘ sacrifice fly capped the two-run frame.

With 17 home runs, Aaron Judge is now tied with Baltimore’s Gunnar Henderson and Houston’s Kyle Tucker for the major league lead. His prodigious power numbers are reminiscent of his historic 2022 campaign when he set an American League record with 62 homers.

Rookie shortstop Anthony Volpe continued his impressive debut, going 2-for-5 with a first-inning single to extend his hitting streak to 18 games, the longest by a Yankee since Derek Jeter‘s 19-game run in 2012. Volpe grew up idolizing Jeter.

Boone expressed confidence his team can maintain its blistering pace, citing strong starting pitching and a deep, balanced lineup led by Aaron Judge’s torrid production.

The Yankees’ 37-17 start is their third-best 54-game record since 1956, trailing only the 1998 powerhouse (41-13) and last year’s squad that reached the AL Championship Series (39-15).

The Yankees have now won at least 13 of their first 17 series for only the eighth time in franchise history and the fourth instance in the last 75 years. Their 38-15 record trails only the Philadelphia Phillies (38-15) for the majors’ best mark.

Yankees manager Aaron Boone is in awe of Aaron Judge’s locked-in approach and professional demeanor, crediting them as catalysts for the team’s success. Boone expressed confidence in the Yankees’ ability to maintain their momentum with the captain leading the charge.

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