Aaron Judge seizes the second chance, brings his bat back to life

Aaron Judge celebrates after his two-run homer in the game between the New York Yankees vs. Oakland Athletics, on April 24, 2024
Michael Bennington
Thursday April 25, 2024

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On Tuesday, Aaron Judge got a second chance to bat after the umpire overturned a ball and ruled it a balk. He immediately seized the opportunity and blasted a two-run homer to break out of his slump. While it gave Aaron Judge a historic milestone in the Bronx, the Yankees carried forward the lead to register a 7-3 win over the Oakland Athletics.

The scoreboard read zeros across the board in the first inning when Juan Soto led off first with one retired. Aaron Judge strode to the batter’s box, his timber clutched tight, ready to confront Oakland hurler Joe Boyle. At 1-2, Boyle threw a fastball, and Aaron Judge watched it sail through the zone untouched, seemingly punched out. As the Yankee slugger pivoted toward the dugout, an unexpected twist unfolded.

Aaron Judge had begun his trudge of perceived failure when the home plate umpire’s call shattered the anticipation. “Ball!” the arbiter ruled, much to the disbelief of Boyle and bewilderment of the Athletics’ infield. In that moment, Judge’s redemption manifested – a reprieve from a squandered at-bat transformed into an opportunity renewed at the dish.

Plate umpire Nick Mahrley called Aaron Judge out, but before the inning could be declared over, third-base umpire John Tumpane signaled a balk on Boyle. Apparently, Boyle hadn’t come to a complete set with his hands during his delivery, granting Aaron Judge a reprieve.

Suddenly, instead of an out, Soto found himself on second base with a golden opportunity for Aaron Judge. Boyle, unfazed by the balk call, opted for a similar strategy, throwing a low fastball on the outer edge of the plate. This time, Aaron Judge capitalized on his second chance. He swung with authority, launching the ball deep into the right-field stands for a two-run home run, putting the Yankees up 2-0.

This pivotal moment ignited the Yankees’ offense, propelling them toward a comfortable 7-3 victory. Looking back on the game-changing play, Judge admitted some initial confusion. “It was a quick pitch,” Aaron Judge said. “I didn’t know what was going on. I saw Soto waving, waving, go back (in the box), go back.”

Aaron Judge’s homer, fueled by the unexpected balk call, jumpstarted the Yankees’ offense and set the tone for their winning performance.

Yankees’ offense led by Aaron Judge dazzles

Despite a sluggish start to the season with key hitters struggling at the plate, New York Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman maintained a calm demeanor. Facing a lineup in need of a spark, Cashman exhibited confidence, acknowledging the ideal scenario of consistent hitting but downplaying immediate concerns. “We’d like them all firing on all cylinders at all times all season,” Cashman admitted to reporters, “but that’s not realistic.”


Cashman’s faith seemed to pay off in dramatic fashion on Wednesday night. Several previously struggling hitters, most notably Aaron Judge and Anthony Rizzo, came alive at the plate, launching home runs of their own. The red-hot Juan Soto added another long ball to the mix, leading the Yankees to a dominant 7-3 victory over the Athletics in front of an energetic crowd of 31,179 at Yankee Stadium.

Aaron Judge’s two-run blast not only propelled the Yankees offensively but also held historical significance. This towering home run, his 261st of his career, surpassed Derek Jeter’s mark, placing him ninth on the Yankees’ all-time home run leaderboard. The electrifying atmosphere continued as the night unfolded.

The Athletics, on the other hand, endured a night of miscues that benefited the Yankees. In the second inning, Oswaldo Cabrera capitalized on a missed opportunity when a would-be foul out eluded the grasp of A’s second baseman Abraham Toro, allowing Cabrera to draw a walk after battling extra pitches. Another defensive miscue unfolded in the third inning. With the bases loaded, Rizzo hit a grounder that could have resulted in a double play, but Oakland first baseman Ryan Noda’s errant throw to second base prevented the out.

This impressive offensive display by the Yankees, coupled with the A’s defensive struggles, provided a convincing win and a much-needed confidence boost for the Bronx Bombers.

Yankees pummel A’s with bombs


Despite a strong start with a 4-0 lead, the Yankees offense continued to chip away, capitalizing on a defensive miscue in the fourth inning to extend their advantage. Juan Soto’s sacrifice fly plated another run, pushing the score to 5-0. 

Soto wasn’t finished contributing, launching his sixth home run of the season in the sixth inning. The solo shot, which barely cleared the center-field wall, provided additional breathing room for the Yankees.

The game also marked a turning point for several previously struggling hitters. Aaron Judge, who entered the game batting a meager .174 with a .645 OPS, showed signs of life. Following a 2-for-5 performance, his average climbed to .191 and his OPS improved to .702. Similarly, Anthony Rizzo, who had only managed one home run in his first 23 games, has now hit two in his last two contests. Rookie outfielder Austin Wells, who sputtered with a paltry .086 average through his first 14 games, finally showed promise by collecting two singles.

Anthony Volpe, another young player facing challenges after being promoted to leadoff, also enjoyed a breakout performance. Following a well-placed bunt by Wells, Volpe notched a pair of hits, marking his first multi-hit game since April 14th. His sinking line drive to right field evaded the glove of Lawrence Butler and rolled all the way to the wall, resulting in an RBI triple.

Gleyber Torres, who had been mired in a 1-for-17 slump, also contributed a key single in the seventh inning, helping to manufacture another run. The Yankees’ offensive dominance was further emphasized by the fact that every player in the starting lineup, except for Oswaldo Cabrera, reached base safely.

Judge-Soto pair goes deep for the first time


The night witnessed a historic first for the Yankees: teammates Aaron Judge and Juan Soto launching home runs in the same game. Aaron Judge’s blast, initially appearing to be a strikeout that turned into a homer thanks to a balk call, marked the first time this feat had been accomplished.

Manager Aaron Boone, known for his dry wit, couldn’t resist a playful analogy. With a deadpan delivery, he compared the feeling to “enjoying a warm beverage on a chilly day.” This lighthearted remark drew a chuckle from Aaron Judge, who acknowledged it as a “great line.” The Yankees captain echoed Boone’s sentiment, adding, “Every win gives us that cozy feeling, so adding another win to the tally feels great.”

This victory propelled the Yankees to their second consecutive win, providing a much-needed boost as they embarked on a demanding road trip. They’ll face the National League Central-leading Milwaukee Brewers over the weekend before traveling to Baltimore for a four-game series against the Orioles.

Currently leading the American League East with a 17-8 record, the Yankees hold a slim half-game lead over the surging Orioles. A win on Thursday would secure a series sweep against the A’s and further solidify their position atop the division.

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