Game 146. Judge at 59 HR after Yanks win slugfest, 12-8. Triple Crown within reach.

Aaron Judge is at 59.

No right-handed batter in American League history has hit more in a season. Judge trails only lefty swinging hitters Babe Ruth (60 in 1927) and Roger Maris (61 in 1961) for most HR in a season by an American League player.

We know all about the 154 vs. 162 game season controversy, as well as the steroid-aided MLB and NL records.

Not only is Judge at 59 HR, but with a 4-hit performance yesterday that included 2 HR, he is now hitting .316, which is only one point short of the AL leader, meaning a Triple Crown is within reach. Only one man, Miguel Cabrera in 2012, has won the Triple Crown since 1967. Two Yankees have won it, Lou Gehrig in 1934 and Mickey Mantle in 1956.

With their 12-8 slugfest win Sunday, the Yankees (88-58) have a 5 1/2 game lead with 16 games to go. Their magic # for clinching the division is 11. Their magic # for a playoff spot is 5 (since they own the tiebreaker over Baltimore).

Gerrit Cole stuck out 8 batters to give him 236 for the season, 12 behind Ron Guidry’s Yankees record of 248 set in 1978, but Cole, despite getting the win, was victimized once again by the gopher ball.

Kolten Wong hit a 3-run HR off of Cole in the bottom of the first. Brewers 3-0.

Oswaldo Cabrera got a run back for the Yankees in the top of the second with his second HR of the season. 3-1.

In the bottom of the second, Tyrone Taylor homered off Cole and it was 4-1, Brewers. Things didn’t look good.

Judge and Anthony Rizzo hit back-to-back HRs in the top of the third to cut Milwaukee’s lead to 4-3. For Judge, #58. It was #31 for Rizzo, who just returned off of the IL. (Estevan Florial was sent down).

The Yanks got 4 runs in the top of the fifth to take a 7-4 lead. Judge led off with a walk. Rizzo singled Judge to second. A flyout by Gleyber Torres moved both runners up. Josh Donaldson walked to load the bases. An error on a fielder’s choice by Giancarlo Stanton tied the game. Bases still loaded. An infield single by Cabrera put the Yanks up 5-4. After a lineout with no advance, Kyle Higashioka singled in two runs to make it 7-4.

In the top of the seventh, the Yanks scored three times to increase their lead to 10-4. Cabrera doubled to lead off the inning, and two groundouts moved him around. 8-4. Aaron Hicks then hit his seventh HR. 9-4. Judge made it back-to-back HR by creaming #59, a 443-ft. blast. 10-4.

The extra runs proved necessary. Rowdy Tellez hit a 2-run HR for the Brewers in the bottom of the eighth to cut the Yanks’ lead to 10-6. They then stranded two.

Judge got a 2-run double in the top of the ninth to make it 12-6. Michael Kay mentioned something in the lines of that Judge was the only guy in baseball that can hit a 2-run double and you are disappointed.

Those two runs were necessary, too. Each of Milwaukee’s first three hitters in the bottom of the ninth singled off of Wandy Peralta. Clay Holmes then relieved Peralta and gave up a ground rule double that made the score 12-8. Holmes then got an out before a walk reloaded the bases, bring the tying run to the plate. A strikeout and groundout ended the game.

Judge 4 hits, 4 RBI. 2 solo HR (59) .316-59-127. One point short of batting average lead.
Rizzo 3 hits, RBI. Solo HR (31). First game off the IL.
Cabrera 3 hits, 2 RBI. Solo HR (2)
Higashioka 3 RBI.
Hicks 2 hits, RBI. Solo HR (7).

Cole (W, 12-7) 5 IP, 4 R, 4 H, 3 W, 8 K. Gave up 2 HR. 3.41 236 K, 12 behind Guidry’s 248 in 1978.
Schmidt (H, 2) 2 1/3 IP, 2 R, 3 H, 0 W, 4 K. Gave up 1 HR. 2.82
Loaisiga 2/3 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 0 K. 4.35
Peralta 0 IP, 2 R, 3 H, 0 W, 0 K. 2.72
Holmes 1 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 1 W, 1 K. 2.55

The Yanks are off today.


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