And That Happened: Sunday's Scores and Highlights

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Mariners
8, Tigers 1
: Sure, Cliff Lee struck out 11 and allowed a single
run, but (a) he didn’t pitch a complete game; and (b) he walked a guy.
Stick a fork in him.

Reds 14, Cubs 3: Drew Stubbs goes nuts — no doubt motivated by rage over the All-Star snub of his teammate Joey Votto — hitting three homers and driving in five.  For his part Votto was ejected in the first inning. He wasn’t mad about the All-Star stuff. He just woke up on the wrong side of the bed yesterday. It happens.

Cardinals 7, Brewers 1: Yovani Gallardo allowed six runs in less than three innings, gave up a three-run double to the opposing pitcher and left with a side injury. But hey, at least it was miserably hot out and he was away from his family on a holiday.

Pirates 8, Phillies 5: OK, I’ve been riding the “don’t worry, the Phillies are going to find themselves soon and turn this thing around” train for a while now, but I’m hoppin’ off at the next station. Good teams just don’t drop three of four to the Pirates. Even injured ones. The Phillies aren’t a good team.

Rays 7, Twins 4: Three hits a piece for Evan Longoria and Sean Rodriguez as the Rays take three of four from the AL Central co-leaders. Nick Blackburn with the latest in a string of blah starts.

Padres 3, Astros 2: San Diego shuts down the Astros’ offense for the third game in a row and continues to lead the league in pitching. In other news, no Padres pitchers made the All-Star team.

Orioles 6, Red Sox 1: Brian Matusz picks up his first win in forever, shutting down the Sox on two hits over seven innings while striking out eight. Ronan Tynan sang “God Bless America” during the seventh-inning stretch for reasons that are known only to God and someone in the Red Sox’ promotions office. Frankly, I would have been less surprised to see the corpse of Woody Guthrie out there singing “This Land is Your Land.”  Probably would have enjoyed that more too, as long as he kept in the good socialist lyrics I like from the often-overlooked fifth and sixth verses.

Mets 9, Nationals 5: Last week I complained about the fact that Jason Bay was benched by Jerry Manuel on Canada Day. I had forgotten that he became a U.S. citizen last year, so maybe it wasn’t as big a deal. For what it’s worth he busted out the whuppin’ stick on his new nation’s birthday, going 2 for 5 with a triple and driving in four. Jerry Manuel brought in K-Rod with a four run lead despite the fact that he got shelled on Saturday and despite the fact that he has now pitched in five of the last six games. Save situation or no, you gotta give that guy a break, don’t you?

Yankees 7, Blues Jays 6: Mariano Rivera blew a save but the Yankees overcame their understandable shock and won it on a Marcus Thames walkoff single in the tenth. Brett Gardner hit a two-run inside the park home run that should have been scored an error on Dewayne Wise. Sun or no sun, the ball bounced off his friggin’ glove. How is that a home run?

Athletics 3, Indians 1: Vin Mazarro gave up a lone run on seven hits in seven and a third beating the Indians’ All-Star pitcher Fausto Carmona. Guess someone has to be an Indians’ All-Star what with that “everyone needs a representative” rule. Little known fact: there are also now rules which specify that everyone gets pizza after the game and that Jacob’s mom drops off and Aiden’s mom picks up.

Dodgers 3, Diamondbacks 1: Dan Haren = good. Diamondbacks’ bullpen = bad. Pretty much the story of the season. Matt Kemp continues to mock my criticism of him in last week’s HBT Extra by hitting a two-run homer. I mentioned B.J. Upton in that too, and he also had a good day yesterday. All I need now is Carlos Zambrano to make a surprise return tomorrow and pitch a perfect game to make my humiliation complete.

Marlins 3, Braves 2: Braves fans of a certain stripe — and I’m one of them — have been fretting about Tim Hudson’s low strikeout totals this year. But hey, he struck you seven yesterday and that’s good!  Braves fans who tend to take a bigger picture view of things realize that the strikeout total that matters more is what the other guy is doing to you, and Ricky Nolasco mowed down 11 Braves yesterday. Dan Uggla did all of the offensive damage for the Feesh, driving in two on a double and hitting a solo dinger.

Rockies 4, Giants 3: This bad boy went 15 innings with Todd Helton winning it for the Rockies on a sac fly. Sixteen pitchers were used. The game went 5:24. I love baseball just as much as the next guy, but jeez . . .

White Sox 5, Rangers 3: Two of three for the Chisox who are a single
game behind the division leaders.

Angels 11, Royals 0: Two home runs seven RBI for Torii Hunter and seven shutout innings for Joel Piniero. A rare national TV game for the Royals didn’t do much to change people’s perceptions about them, did it?

Yankees star Judge hits 61st home run, ties Maris’ AL record

aaron judge
Cole Burston/Getty Images
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TORONTO — Aaron Judge tied Roger Maris’ American League record of 61 home runs in a season, hitting a tiebreaking, two-run drive for the New York Yankees in the seventh inning against the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday night.

The 30-year-old slugger drove a 94.5 mph belt-high sinker with a full-count from left-hander Tim Mayza over the left-field fence at Rogers Centre. The 117.4 mph drive took just 3.8 seconds to land 394 feet from the plate, and it put the Yankees ahead 5-3.

Judge watched the ball clank off the front of the stands, just below two fans who reached over a railing and tried for a catch. He pumped an arm just before reaching first and exchanged a slap with coach Travis Chapman.

The ball dropped into Toronto’s bullpen and was picked up by Blue Jays bullpen coach Matt Buschmann, who turned it over to the Yankees.

Judge’s mother and Roger Maris Jr. rose and hugged from front-row seats. He appeared to point toward them after rounding second base, then was congratulated by the entire Yankees team, who gave him hugs after he crossed the plate.

Judge moved past the 60 home runs Babe Ruth hit in 1927, which had stood as the major league mark until Maris broke it in 1961. All three stars reached those huge numbers playing for the Yankees.

Barry Bonds holds the big league record of 73 for the San Francisco Giants in 2001.

Judge had gone seven games without a home run – his longest drought this season was nine in mid-August. This was the Yankees’ 155th game of the season, leaving them seven more in the regular season.

The home run came in the fourth plate appearance of the night for Judge, ending a streak of 34 plate appearances without a home run.

Judge is hitting .313 with 130 RBIs, also the top totals in the AL. He has a chance to become the first AL Triple Crown winner since Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera in 2012.

Maris hit No. 61 for the Yankees on Oct. 1, 1961, against Boston Red Sox pitcher Tracy Stallard.

Maris’ mark has been exceeded six times, but all have been tainted by the stench of steroids. Mark McGwire hit 70 home runs for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1998 and 65 the following year, and Bonds topped him. Sammy Sosa had 66, 65 and 63 during a four-season span starting in 1998.

McGwire admitted using banned steroids, while Bonds and Sosa denied knowingly using performing-enhancing drugs. Major League Baseball started testing with penalties for PEDs in 2004, and some fans – perhaps many – until now have considered Maris the holder of the “clean” record.

Among the tallest batters in major league history, the 6-foot-7 Judge burst on the scene on Aug. 13, 2016, homering off the railing above Yankee Stadium’s center-field sports bar and into the netting above Monument Park. He followed Tyler Austin to the plate and they become the first teammates to homer in their first major league at-bats in the same game.

Judge hit 52 homers with 114 RBIs the following year and was a unanimous winner of the AL Rookie of the Year award. Injuries limited him during the following three seasons, and he rebounded to hit 39 homers with 98 RBIs in 2021.

As he approached his last season before free agent eligibility, Judge on opening day turned down the Yankees’ offer of an eight-year contract worth from $230.5 million to $234.5 million. The proposal included an average of $30.5 million annually from 2023-29, with his salary this year to be either the $17 million offered by the team in arbitration or the $21 million requested by the player.

An agreement was reached in June on a $19 million, one-year deal, and Judge heads into this offseason likely to get a contract from the Yankees or another team for $300 million or more, perhaps topping $400 million.

Judge hit six homers in April, 12 in May and 11 in June. He earned his fourth All-Star selection and entered the break with 33 homers. He had 13 homers in July and dropped to nine in August, when injuries left him less protected in the batting order and pitchers walked him 25 times.

He became just the fifth player to hold a share of the AL season record. Nap Lajoie hit 14 in the AL’s first season as a major league in 1901, and Philadelphia Athletics teammate Socks Seabold had 16 the next year, a mark that stood until Babe Ruth hit 29 in 1919. Ruth set the record four times in all, with 54 in 1920, 59 in 1921 and 60 in 1927, a mark that stood until Maris’ 61 in 1961.

Maris was at 35 in July 1961 during the first season each team’s schedule increased from 154 games to 162, and baseball Commissioner Ford Frick ruled if anyone topped Ruth in more than 154 games “there would have to be some distinctive mark in the record books to show that Babe Ruth’s record was set under a 154-game schedule.”

That “distinctive mark” became known as an “asterisk” and it remained until Sept. 4, 1991, when a committee on statistical accuracy chaired by Commissioner Fay Vincent voted unanimously to recognize Maris as the record holder.