MLB

Judge stands alone atop AL history with record-breaking 62nd home run, Braves clinch NL East

By Sports Desk October 04, 2022

Aaron Judge stands alone at the top of home run history in the American League after breaking Roger Maris' 61-year single-season homer record with his 62nd blast in the New York Yankees' 3-2 loss to the Texas Rangers on Tuesday.

Judge, who had hit just one homer in his previous 13 games coming in, blasted a 1-1 slider off Rangers' pitcher Jesus Tinoco over the left-field fence for a lead-off homer to break the mark.

The Yankees outfielder's home run was his 62nd of the season, surpassing Maris' 61-homer mark from 1961, which he had matched last Wednesday against the Toronto Blue Jays.

The blast came in the Yankees' penultimate game of the regular season, with Judge's 62 homers sitting seventh for most in a single season in MLB history.

Ahead of Judge are only three players, all from 1997 to 2001; Barry Bonds (73 in 2001), Mark McGwire (70 in 1999 and 65 in 1999) and Sammy Sosa (66 in 1998, 64 in 2001, 63 in 1999).

The home run means 11 of Judge's past 14 blasts have come on the road. Gerrit Cole also made franchise history, reaching 257 strikeouts for the most in a single season for the Yankees.

The Yankees were beaten after the Rangers added two fifth-inning runs, with the visitors having won the first game in the double header 5-4 when Judge went one-for-five with a single.

Braves complete turnaround to clinch NL East

Following their sweep over the New York Mets, the Atlanta Braves clinched their fifth straight National League (NL) East title with a 2-1 victory over the Miami Marlins.

William Contreras drove in the go-ahead run in the fifth inning with an infield single, earning the reigning world champions a first-round bye as the NL second seed. The achievement comes after the Braves had trailed the Mets by 10-and-a-half games in June.

Jake Odorizzi had seven strikeouts across five innings, while Kenley Jansen recorded his 41st save with a perfect ninth inning. Ronald Acuna Jr hit a second-inning single to give the Braves an early lead.

AL seeds locked in as Verlander stars for Astros

The Seattle Mariners locked in the number five seed in the AL playoffs with a 7-6 walkoff win over the Detroit Tigers, highlighted by back-up catcher Luis Torrens pitching the 10th inning.

Entering extras ahead of the postseason, the Mariners shuffled their deck, with Torrens becoming the first position player other than Shohei Ohtani to earn a win since John Baker in 2014 for the Chicago Cubs. Abraham Toro's sacrifice fly allowed Carlos Santana to score the walkoff run.

That result meant the Tampa Bay Rays were locked for the third AL Wild Card spot, not helped by a 6-0 loss to the Boston Red Sox where Xander Bogaerts delivered a fifth-inning grand slam.

Meanwhile, the Houston Astros go into the postseason as the AL top seed after a 10-0 win over the Philadelphia Phillies where Cy Young Award favourite Justin Verlander had 10 K's and kept the opposition hitless until the ninth inning.

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    The Rockies scored six times in the fourth to erase an early 4-1 deficit and end the American League Central-leading Guardians' longest sequence of consecutive wins since an AL-record 22-game run in 2017.

    Blackmon added a run-scoring double and finished 3 for 4 to lead the Rockies to their fourth win in six games. Elehuris Montero had a two-run single during the fourth-inning outburst, while Sean Bouchard also drove in two runs and scored twice for Colorado.

    Josh Rogers earned the win after allowing two runs over five innings in relief of Anthony Molina, who was pulled after permitting three runs and walking three over the first 1 2/3 innings.

    Colorado loaded the bases with one out in the fourth on a pair of walks issued by Cleveland starter Xzavion Curry and a single by Brendan Rodgers. After a fielding error by Guardians' second baseman Andres Gimenez let in a run, Montero laced a single to center to tie the game at 4-4 before Blackmon drove Curry's pitch over the right field wall to put the Rockies ahead.

    Curry lasted just 3 1/3 innings and surrendered seven runs - six earned - on six hits.

    Blackmon increased the lead to 8-4 with a sixth-inning double that plated Bouchard, who had reached on a walk.

    The Guardians inched closer when Bo Naylor singled in the seventh and scored on Jose Ramirez's two-out double, then further closed the gap against Colorado closer Jalen Beeks in the ninth.

    Tyler Freeman doubled with one out and Gimenez followed with a run-scoring single to cut the lead to 8-6. Beeks settled down and struck out Ramirez, however, before retiring Josh Naylor on a pop-up to notch his fifth save.

    Freeman went 3 for 5 and opened the game with a double before later crossing the plate on a Ramirez groundout for Cleveland's first run. The center fielder put the Guardians up 3-0 with an RBI single in the second, after Cleveland had pushed home a run earlier in the inning without a hit due to two walks issued by Molina and a hit batter.

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    Jackson Chourio added two hits, including a run-scoring double, to help the Brewers take the opener of this high-profile three-game series between National League Central foes, a rivalry made more intense by Counsell resigning as Milwaukee's manager in the offseason to take the same position with the Cubs.

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    Lodolo (4-2) gave up a solo homer to Paul Golschmidt in the first inning but was nearly spotless thereafter in his first start since missing just over two weeks with a groin strain. The left-hander permitted just four other hits and walked none while recording three strikeouts.

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