Last Updated on September 23, 2023 at 1:48 am by John Allen
New York Yankees 7, Arizona Diamondbacks 1
NEW YORK — On Friday night, Aaron Judge achieved a historic milestone by becoming the inaugural player in Yankees’ history to record two games with three home runs in a single season. The Yankees confidently secured a 7-1 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Arizona’s impressive five-game winning streak came to an end, and the Diamondbacks’ advantage over the Chicago Cubs for the second of three NL wild-card positions shrunk to just one game. This setback marked Arizona’s seventh loss out of eight matches played against New York teams this season, with six of those losses being to the Mets.
In the game, Judge smashed a three-run home run in the third inning and followed it up with a two-run homer in the fifth, both off the rookie starter Brandon Pfaadt (2-9). The powerhouse hitter completed his trio of homers with a solo blast off Slade Cecconi in the seventh inning.
This remarkable performance marked Judge’s second career three-homer game, and it occurred within the past month. His previous three-homer feat was on August 23, when he achieved the same against Washington at home, playing a pivotal role in helping New York break its first nine-game losing streak since 1982.
Judge had a stellar performance, going 4 for 4 with a double and matching his personal best with six runs batted in (RBI). In the current season, he boasts a batting average of .267 along with 35 home runs and 70 RBI in 100 games.
The reigning AL MVP recorded his eighth career game with four hits, the first since May 20 in Cincinnati. This remarkable showing marked the fourth time in his career that he drove in six runs during a game.
Seeking to steer clear of their first subpar season since their 1992 campaign, when Buck Showalter took over as manager, the Yankees elevated their record to 78-76, putting them two games above .500. Nevertheless, their chances of making the playoffs remain in jeopardy.
Judge’s initial home run extended the Yankees’ lead to 3-0. Shortly after Pfaadt’s error, as he mishandled Oswald Peraza‘s softly-hit comebacker, Judge capitalized by launching a first-pitch sinker into the New York bullpen in right-center field.
In the fifth inning, his two-run blast to right-centerfield extended the lead to 6-0. Following his impressive round of the bases in the seventh, Judge graciously acknowledged the enthusiastic cheers from the 39,143-strong Yankee Stadium crowd by taking a curtain call and tipping his cap, coinciding with teammate Gleyber Torres stepping out of the batter’s box.
However, Judge remained in the on-deck circle when Estevan Florial made the final out of the eighth inning.
In his 100 games this season, Judge has maintained a batting average of .267, with an impressive 35 home runs and 70 RBI. His season was briefly interrupted when he suffered a sprained right big toe on June 3 at Dodger Stadium, causing him to miss nearly eight weeks. However, he made a triumphant return to the lineup on July 28.
It’s worth noting that Judge, a five-time All-Star, had a remarkable season last year when he hit 62 home runs, surpassing the previous American League record of 61, which was held by former Yankees slugger Roger Maris since 1961.
In his second appearance since being acquired off waivers from Seattle on September 14, former Diamondbacks pitcher Luke Weaver (3-5) secured his inaugural win as a member of the Yankees. Weaver turned in an impressive performance, allowing only four hits over 5 1/3 innings, marking his first win since July 3 when he was with Cincinnati.
Jhony Brito, on the other hand, yielded Christian Walker’s 31st home run in the ninth inning but successfully closed out the game, earning his first career save after pitching for 3 2/3 innings.
In contrast, Pfaddt, who had delivered 5 1/3 scoreless innings against the Cubs a week earlier, struggled in this outing, conceding six runs, with five of them being earned, and allowing eight hits over 4 1/3 innings.
On Saturday afternoon at Yankee Stadium, Arizona’s right-handed pitcher Zach Davies (2-5, 6.81 ERA) is set to face New York’s left-handed pitcher Carlos Rodón (3-6, 5.90 ERA), although there’s a significant chance of heavy rain in the forecast.
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