NEW YORK (AP) — Aaron Judge became the first New York Yankees player to hit three home runs in a game twice in one season when he connected in the seventh inning Friday night against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
“It’s incredible,” Judge said after New York’s 7-1 victory. “You see the list of players that have come through here, the retired numbers out there, but I just tried to do my job.”
Judge hit a three-run homer in the third and a two-run shot in the fifth off rookie starter Brandon Pfaadt. The slugger added his third homer of the night by reaching the second deck in right field with a solo drive off Slade Cecconi.
“Greatness doing special things,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “Those are things that, kind of the crazy things that happen, but it’s just a special player. Not surprising that he’s on that list.”
After rounding the bases, the reigning AL MVP took a curtain call from the Yankee Stadium crowd of 39,143 as teammate Gleyber Torres stepped out of the batter’s box.
“It was great,” Judge said. “Anytime Yankee fans want to show some love and appreciation, I love it. It was a pretty cool moment right there.”
Judge became the sixth player in franchise history with multiple three-homer games.
Lou Gehrig, who also hit four homers in June 1926 at Philadelphia against the A’s, leads the Yankees with four such games. Joe DiMaggio and Alex Rodríguez had three, and Tony Lazzeri and Bobby Murcer two apiece.
It was the 35th time a Yankees player hit three homers in a game.
Judge also doubled during his second career three-homer game — both coming within the past month. He also went deep three times Aug. 23 at home against Washington to help the Yankees stop their first nine-game losing streak since 1982.
Judge’s first homer gave New York a 3-0 lead. Two batters after Pfaadt committed an error by misplaying Oswald Peraza’s soft comebacker, Judge lifted a first-pitch sinker into the Yankees’ bullpen in right-center.
His two-run drive to right-center in the fifth made it 6-0.
Judge is hitting .267 with 35 homers and 70 RBIs in 100 games this season. He missed nearly eight weeks after spraining his right big toe on June 3 at Dodger Stadium. He returned to the lineup July 28.
“A lot of missed time, a lot of missed opportunities, that’s how I look at it,” Judge said.
The five-time All-Star hit 62 home runs last season, breaking the previous American League record of 61 set by former Yankees slugger Roger Maris in 1961.
AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB