Offensive tandem by Judge, Soto stems Yankees’ skid, sinks Mariners

Juan Soto celebrates with Aaron Judge after hitting his second home run in the game vs. the Mariners at Yankee Stadium on May 22, 2024.

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After two consecutive losses against the Seattle Mariners, fans of the New York Yankees began to contemplate the summer slide they witnessed two seasons ago. However, their captain Aaron Judge led from the front on Wednesday and star slugger Juan Soto pitched in to clinch a much-needed win.

The dynamic duo showcased their power in the Yankees’ 7-3 victory over the Mariners before a 37,000-plus Bronx crowd, with Judge and Soto going deep two innings apart, and Soto blasting two home runs in total. The win helped the Yankees avoid their first three-game losing streak since April 14-16.

Soto, who has been basking in the adoration of the Yankees faithful, even heard chants of “MVP” on multiple occasions throughout the game. However, the young star believes it’s too early for such accolades, saying that while it’s fun to see the fans go crazy every day, he just has to turn around and they go wild.

“I still think it’s way too early,” he said. “It’s fun to see those fans go at it every day. It’s unbelievable. I’ve just got to turn around and they go crazy. I’m enjoying every part of it. I’m having fun with it. You never know how long it’s gonna be like that.”

The home runs and his evident connection with the fans have certainly contributed to Soto’s enjoyment of his time with the Yankees. He expressed his appreciation for the experience, stating that he’s having fun with it and acknowledging the uncertainty of how long this atmosphere will last.

As Soto continues to make a significant impact on the field and in the hearts of Yankees fans, the question remains: how long will the team be able to keep him in the Bronx? With each passing game and every home run, the price tag for securing Soto’s long-term commitment seems to be on the rise.

Aaron Judge is with Juan Soto after hitting a home run the game vs. the Mariners at Yankee Stadium on May 22, 2024.
AP

Aaron Judge, who experienced similar fan support after his record-setting 2022 season, said the love-fest between Soto and Yankees fans gives him chills.

Captain Judge paves the Yankees’ winning way

Judge got the ball rolling for the Yankees in the bottom of the first inning, launching his 14th home run of the year and his seventh in the first frame. The two-run, opposite-field shot to right gave the Yankees a 2-0 lead after Anthony Volpe extended his career-high hitting streak to 15 games with an infield hit to lead off the inning. With this homer, 10 of Judge’s last 12 hits have gone for extra bases, including four round-trippers.

Soto followed suit in the third inning, coming to the plate after Volpe singled for the second time in the game. Mirroring Judge, Soto took the ball the other way, sending it out to the left-center field to extend the Yankees’ lead to 4-0.

The young slugger wasn’t done yet, as he added another opposite-field homer to left to kick off the bottom of the sixth, giving the Yankees a 5-0 advantage and notching his 13th long ball of the season.

Soto continued to engage with the fans at the top of the seventh, waving his arms in encouragement as they serenaded him with another “Juan Soto” chant during a mound visit.

With an opportunity to put an exclamation point on the Yankees’ victory, Soto stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and two outs in the seventh, the crowd once again on its feet. However, this time, Soto struck out, leaving the fans in suspense for his next heroic moment.

The New York Yankees’ offensive firepower was on full display Wednesday night, with Aaron Judge and Juan Soto launching homers off right-hander Bryce Miller, who allowed just five baserunners over six innings but saw all of them cross the plate.

Juan Soto celebrates with Aaron Judge after hitting his second home run the game vs. the Mariners at Yankee Stadium on May 22, 2024.
X-@Yankees

Judge praised Soto as one of the best hitters in the game, noting that adding him to the lineup is bound to change things. The top four hitters in the Yankees’ batting order combined to go 6-for-14 with four home runs.

“He’s one of the best hitters in the game,” he said. “You add that to a lineup, things are gonna change.”

Complementing the offensive outburst, Nestor Cortes dazzled on the mound at home once again, tossing five shutout innings as the Yankees’ rotation continued to excel.

However, the typically reliable bullpen briefly faltered in the eighth inning. Michael Tonkin issued two walks in his second inning of work, and Luke Weaver surrendered a three-run homer to Cal Raleigh, cutting the Yankees’ lead to 5-3 with one out in the eighth.

Alex Verdugo provided some much-needed insurance for the Yankees in the bottom of the inning, launching the team’s fourth homer of the night, a two-run shot into the bleachers in right-center field. The 420-foot blast extended the Yankees’ lead to 7-3.

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