Yankees’ Aaron Judge slays Giants, transforms jeers into ‘MVP’ cheers

New York Yankees’ Aaron Judge reacts after hitting a home run against the San Francisco Giants during the sixth inning of a baseball game in San Francisco, Friday, May 31, 2024.
Joe Najarian
Saturday June 1, 2024

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Aaron Judge transformed boos into rousing “MVP” chants with two colossal home runs, propelling the New York Yankees to a 6-2 triumph over the San Francisco Giants on Friday night at Oracle Park.

Before his first at-bat, the Bay Area crowd greeted Aaron Judge with jeers, but he quickly silenced them with a two-run homer in the third inning, putting the Yankees up 3-1. He followed up with a solo shot in the sixth, pushing New York’s lead to 4-1.

Giants right-hander Jordan Hicks, who entered with a 2.33 ERA, struggled to contain Aaron Judge’s immense power. The first homer traveled 394 feet to left-center at 104.4 mph, while the second soared 426 feet to center at 112.3 mph.

Aaron Judge ended the game 3-for-4, raising his season average to .282. He now leads the majors with 20 home runs and has amassed 45 RBIs. This resurgence is particularly noteworthy given his earlier struggles, batting just .197 with six homers and 18 RBIs until May 2.

Aaron Judge was expecting a sizable turnout of friends and family for the weekend series in San Francisco, an event he had eagerly awaited. Despite the initial boos, he appreciated the supportive “MVP” chants from Yankees fans in attendance.

New York Yankees’ Aaron Judge ends his May on a hot streak after hitting a home run against the San Francisco Giants during the sixth inning of a baseball game in San Francisco, Friday, May 31, 2024.

The Yankees’ win marks their ninth in the last 10 games, continuing their hot streak. In contrast, the Giants have lost four of their last five contests.

“It was more of the consistency of barrels and how hard he hits the ball in every direction,” teammate Alex Verdugo said. “That’s what it is for me. He was hitting balls 105 [mph] oppo [opposite field], 115 pull side, 112 up the middle. He’s hitting balls real hard everywhere. Not only that, but also the way he controls his at-bats each and every time and really swings at what he wants. For me, very, very hard to do in a month. Some people, it’s almost their whole season.”

Childhood dream comes true for Aaron Judge

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MLB

For Aaron Judge, this weekend’s series at Oracle Park against the San Francisco Giants carries special meaning. The Yankees star fondly remembers his childhood, spent seeking autographs from his favorite players, like infielder Rich Aurilia, while dreaming of his own big league future in the Giants’ orange and black.

Aaron Judge reminisced about attending games during the Barry Bonds era at what was then Pac Bell Park. Growing up a Giants fan, he cherished the 95-mile trips from his hometown of Linden, Calif., with his parents to watch major league baseball.

An oblique injury in April 2019 dashed his hopes of playing his first games at Oracle Park, sidelining him just a week before the Yankees’ visit.

Two years ago, when Aaron Judge became a free agent, he was courted heavily by the Giants to return home. He relished touring the ballpark he knew so well as a fan. The allure of playing for his hometown team was strong, making for a difficult decision.

Ultimately, Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner added a year and $40 million to the Giants’ nine-year, $360 million offer, convincing the slugger to stay in New York.

Aaron Judge had been eagerly anticipating his chance to play at Oracle Park, a dream that finally came true on Friday night. The Yankees slugger, who missed his opportunity to perform at this iconic venue in 2019 due to an oblique injury, expressed his excitement before the game about finally getting to play in San Francisco.

“I didn’t mind it,” he ignored the boos by Giants fans. “I didn’t hit any home runs in BP, so I was a little nervous. Barry and a lot of those guys back in the day made it look pretty small at times. I had a lot of fun hitting BP.”

Aaron Judge seized the moment during his long-awaited Oracle Park debut, launching two towering home runs to propel the Yankees to a 6-2 victory over the Giants. He fulfilled a childhood fantasy by smashing a three-run shot in the third inning and adding a solo homer in the sixth, capping off a spectacular May performance.
 
The first home run came after a grueling eight-pitch at-bat, with Aaron Judge sending a 3-2 splitter from Giants right-hander Jordan Hicks deep over the left-center field wall. In his next at-bat, Judge crushed a 3-1 sinker from Hicks, launching it over the center-field fence.
 
Aaron Judge’s pair of home runs highlighted an impressive month, as he entered June hitting .282 with a major league-leading 20 homers and 45 RBIs, a remarkable turnaround after a slow start to the season. The Yankees star’s resurgence has been a key factor in the team’s recent success.

New York Yankees’ Aaron Judge gestures after hitting a home run against the San Francisco Giants during the sixth inning of a baseball game in San Francisco, Friday, May 31, 2024.
AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

Aaron Judge’s record streak

Aaron Judge’s red-hot hitting streak continued Friday night as he launched two home runs, propelling the Yankees to a 6-2 victory over the San Francisco Giants. With these homers, Aaron Judge now leads the majors with 20 for the season.

The Yankees slugger has been on an extraordinary run, contributing significantly to the Yankees’ league-best record. His power surge in May, where he hit 14 homers, has been particularly impressive after a quiet April. This remarkable performance makes Aaron Judge the first player in Yankees history to achieve at least 14 home runs and 12 doubles in a single month, surpassing Lou Gehrig’s record of 12 homers and 12 doubles set in July 1930.

Aaron Judge with 26 extra-base hits ranks second only second after Joe DiMaggio’s 31. He is now fourth on the Yankees record book with 35 multi-hit home-run games.

“The fact that we’re in May, and all the questions about the slow start, and you look up there and the season he’s having,” Yankees manager Boone said a day earlier. “Just a special player doing special things.”

Following Aaron Judge’s second home run of the night, Yankees fans erupted with “MVP” chants, while the Oracle Park crowd responded with boos. This contrasting reaction highlighted Judge’s polarizing yet outstanding presence on the field this season.

New York Yankees’ Aaron Judge walks to the dugout during the fifth inning of the team’s baseball game against the San Francisco Giants in San Francisco, Friday, May 31, 2024.
AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

“He’s pretty good, wouldn’t you say?” Carlos Rodon said. “That’s why he’s the captain.”

But the slugger has his sight fixed on June. “Good month,” he told about May. “Let’s try to repeat it next month.”

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