The Yankees invited some of the heroes from their storied past to the ballpark on Saturday. However, lacking the Old-Timer’s Game after extensive exposure, they just had to sit back and watch as the Yankees’ current hero continued to destroy the very game they played. Aaron Judge hit his major league 42nd home run in the second inning as the Bombers beat the Royals 8-2.
It was the third straight win for the Yankees (69-33) and it ended their streak over the Royals (39-62). After beating the Mets in a two-game series earlier this week, the Bombers have won 23 games and lost just six. On Sunday, they are going to sweep the Royal Family.
Judge’s 42nd homer was a 364-foot shot to right-center field. It was also his 200th career home run, making him the fastest player to hit 200 homers in American League history. Judge hit the 200 mark in his 671st career game, trailing only Ryan Howard, who did it in 658 games in major league history.
Judge has hit six home runs in his last six games, nine in his last nine games and 11 homers in his last 13 games.
He is on pace to hit 66 home runs this season.
There are only two players in MLB history who have hit more homers through July. Barry Bonds (2001) and Mark McGwire (1998) each had 45 by July. Both broke the long-standing record of 61 set by Roger Morris in 1961. Sammy Sosa also had 42 in a month in 1998.
The two-run shot gave him 91 RBI, and he has 21 of the Yankees’ last 45 runs over a nine-game stretch.
DJ LeMahieu became the last Yankee to reach double figures in homers. His leadoff homer in the first was his 10th of the season and his first since July 21 in the first game of a doubleheader against the Astros in Houston.
Nestor Cortez allowed two earned runs on five hits in five innings. The lefty struck out five and walked two. The Yankees used Saturday as a chance to manage Cortez’s innings.
The 27-year-old now has 106.2 innings pitched on the season. Cortez never pitched more than 93 innings in the major leagues. He threw 108 between the minors and major leagues last season. He threw a career-high 115 innings in the minors in 2018.
It also gave the Yankees a chance to see Aroldis Chapman work again. The former closer, who has struggled of late, pitched his third straight scoreless inning with two strikeouts. It was just Chapman’s second successful appearance since coming off the injured list on July 2. The other consecutive scoreless innings came against the Pirates on July 5-6.
Clark Schmidt threw a three-hitter to finish.