MLB

Judge makes history with 61st home run in Yankees win over Blue Jays, Escobar leads Mets walk-off

By Sports Desk September 28, 2022

Aaron Judge made American League (AL) history with his record-tying 61st home run of the season as the New York Yankees won 8-3 over the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday.

Judge's seventh-inning two-run blast moved him to 61 single-season homers, equaling Roger Maris' long-held AL and franchise record set in 1961.

The homer ended Judge's run of seven homerless games, along with 31 consecutive plate appearances without a blast.

Judge delivered the shot in his fourth plate appearance of the game, going over left-field deep in the seventh from Tim Mayza, batting leadoff as the designated hitter.

"When I hit it, I thought I got enough but it's been a couple of games since I did that," Judge said.

"So, you never really know if it was going to get out out or, so, I tried to sprint around the bases a little bit then once it got over the fence, just relief that now we're leading the game.

"Getting a chance to tie Roger Maris, you dream about that kind of stuff, it's unreal."

Judge's blast came with scores tied at 3-3, opening up a two-run lead for the AL East-winning Yankees.

Harrison Bader had a single later in the seventh, before driving in two at the top of the ninth, reaching on a fielder's choice.

Yankees pitcher Gerrit Cole allowed three hits and three hits in six-and-one-third innings, striking out four to match Ron Guidry's franchise single-season record of 248 from 1978.

Escobar stars in Mets' walk-off win

Eduardo Escobar hit five RBIs including the walk-off game-winner in the 10th inning as the New York Mets got past the Miami Marlins 5-4.

The victory was critical for the Mets, giving them a one-game lead ahead of the Atlanta Bin the National League East, moving their magic number to clinch the division to six.

Trailing 4-0 at the bottom of the seventh inning, Escobar cut the lead in half with a two-run blast, before delivering an eighth-inning two-run single.

Escobar produced the walk-off single in the 10th inning, punching one through the hole of the left-side of the infield to drive in Francisco Lindor from second base.

Braves lose ground after Nats upset

The Braves let slip a huge opportunity to keep the pressure on the Mets, slumping to a 3-2 walk-off loss to the lowly Washington Nationals.

C.J. Abrams chopped a career-first walk-off single to right-field to drive in Alex Call for the game-winning run in the 10th inning. It was Abrams' third hit of the game.

Matt Olson crushed his 30th homer of the season among his two hits, while Michael Harris II hauled in a brilliant leaping catch at the center-field wall before driving in the game-tying eighth inning run for Dansby Swanson.

The Braves and Mets are set to meet in a crucial three-game series starting on Friday in Atlanta, weather permitting.

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    The 35-year-old first baseman was named the AL’s top player during the coronavirus-shortened 2020 campaign after batting .317 with 19 home runs and an MLB-leading 60 RBIs in 60 games that season.

    Though his home run total dipped from 30 in 2021 to 15 this past season, Abreu finished fifth in the AL in both batting average (.304) and on-base percentage (.378) after drawing a career-high 62 walks. Abreu also recorded the lowest strikeout rate of his MLB career at 16.2 per cent in 2022.

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  • 'It's out of my price range' – Aaron Judge rules out $3million-plus auction bid for 62nd home run ball 'It's out of my price range' – Aaron Judge rules out $3million-plus auction bid for 62nd home run ball

    Aaron Judge is resigned to being an intrigued observer when the ball he struck for a record-breaking 62nd home run goes up for auction – declaring he cannot afford to join the bidding race.

    The 30-year-old set a single-season Yankees and AL home-run record by reaching 62 to surpass Roger Maris Sr's 61 – set 61 years ago in 1961.

    Judge became the fourth major league player to hit 62 or more homers in a single season, and his feat belongs in baseball legend, making the ball that saw him set the record on October 4 especially valuable.

    It occurred at the home of the Texas Rangers in Arlington, with the spectator at Globe Life Field that caught the ball striking lucky by guaranteeing himself an apparent fortune.

    According to ESPN, that man, Cory Youmans, decided to put the ball in the hands of Goldin Auctions "after weeks of a lot of deep conversations" with his wife and lawyer.

    Youmans said: "It seems fair in the sense it gives anyone that is interested and has the means the opportunity to own it. As a fan, I'm curious to see what it's worth, who buys it and what they do with it."

    Youmans is said to have already turned down $3million for the ball, with his lawyer, Dave Baron, suspecting the final selling price could be "significantly higher based on New York, the New York fan base and how crazy it could get at an auction".

    That rules Judge out of contention, as he said the ball is "out of my price range right now".

    The ball is listed with a starting bid of $1million, with the auction due to get under way on November 30.

    Judge said of the seller's choice: "He caught the ball, he's the one that made the play out there in left field, so it's his right to do what he wants with it. Hopefully he's making the right decision for him and his family.''

    The ball's value will not have been harmed by Judge winning the AL Most Valuable Player (MVP) award ahead of Los Angeles Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani on Thursday.

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    Judge's MVP, the first in his career, came after he broke the single-season Yankees and AL home-run record, reaching 62 to surpass Roger Maris Sr's 61 – set 61 years ago in 1961. He became the fourth major league player to hit 62 or more homers in a single season.

    The Yankees outfielder led the AL in home runs (62), RBIs (131), slugging percentage (.686), on-base percentage (.425), OPS (1.111) and total bases (391), while he chased an AL Triple Crown down the stretch, but ultimately fell short as Minnesota Twins' utility Luis Arraez (.316) won the batting title.

    Judge received 28 first-place votes for 410 points, ahead of Ohtani (280) and Houston Astros' Yordan Alvarez (232).

    The 30-year-old already had two top-five MVP finishes on his resume, in 2017 and 2021, winning Silver Slugger awards in both years.

    Yankees manager Aaron Boone said: "I’m grateful that I got to witness it first-hand and share in his magical year, especially given how much respect I have for him as a player and as a person."

    Goldschmidt looked like the NL MVP since the All-Star break, batting .317 while leading the NL in OPS (.982) and slugging percentage (.578).

    The Cardinals first baseman's 35 home runs finished one off his career-high, set in 2013 and equalled in 2017, giving him his seventh season with at least 30 dingers.

    Goldschmidt won the MVP with 380 voting points, ahead of Machado (291) and Arenado (232). It is the sixth time in 35-year-old Goldschmidt's career that he has finished in the top-six for the award.

    "I think definitely as you age, you have to adapt, and that's some of what I've tried to do. I've tried to get ahead of it," Goldschmidt told MLB Network. "I think it was my best season."

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