And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

23 Comments

Brewers 9, Phillies 0: Roy Halladay threw 123 pitches in his last start and got tattooed for six runs on ten hits in this one. Coincidence?  Randy Wolf returns to his old stomping grounds (stamping grounds? Can we get a ruling on this) to shut down his old mates (6 IP, 2 H, 0 ER). Well, he left after 2006, so at least some of them are his old mates.

Blue Jays 6, Yankees 5: Mariano Rivera was handed a two-run lead in the ninth inning and … he blew it. A leadoff double followed by a wild pitch brought the Jays to within one and then a walk and two singles later — one of them a bunt single — and it was all tied up. A Travis Snider RBI double in the 10th ended it.  I suppose this sort of thing happens from time to time. Probably doesn’t matter. According to very reliable sources, the machines became self-aware just after 8PM last night, so the attack on humanity begins tomorrow. It’s good to know that both Rivera and Halladay are humans, so at least they’re on our side.

Angels 15, Rangers 4:  The Angels’ young bats break out in a major way. Mark Trumbo homered and drove in four runs, Hank Conger had two hits and scored twice and Peter Bourjos had four hits, including a homer among his four hits. Colby Lewis got rocked in his first start back following a missed turn due the to birth of his second child. More on that a bit later this morning.

Mariners 13, Tigers 3: Man there were a lot of blowouts yesterday. This one was pretty surprising given how inept the Mariners have been on offense. But when the opposition walks you 11 times — 11! — you’re going to score a bunch. Jack Wilson got three of those walks. How do you not throw strikes to Jack Wilson?

Rays 2, White Sox 1: A complete game for James Shields, who gave up a run on four hits and struck out nine. And he wasn’t messin’ around either. He threw 105 pitches and the game took two hours and twelve minutes. The Sox have lost six in a row and the Rays have won seven of eight.

Athletics 5, Red Sox 0: Brett Anderson (8 IP, 4 H, 0 ER 8K) shut down the Sox who — and I’m not making excuses for ’em, just stating facts — had to wake up early on Monday for that Patriots’ Day game then fly out to the west coast for a night game last night. How are you not jet lagged after that? John Lackey didn’t pitch poorly, but when you don’t score …

Orioles 11, Twins 0: You’re Ron Gardenhire. You take a beating like this and you think, hey, silver lining time: I got a closer who can’t close anymore and I need to build his confidence back up. We’re down 8-0, so let’s put Joe Nathan in to get a zero-leverage inning under his belt and get him on the way back to being productive, OK?  Nathan comes in in the eighth and gives up a three-run bomb to Vlad Guerrero. Oof.

Marlins 6, Pirates 0: Josh Johnson was masterful once again, shutting out the Pirates on two hits over seven innings. He’s now 3-0 with a 1.00 ERA, he has a 27/6 K/BB ratio in 27 innings and opposing hitters are batting .112 against him.

Astros 6, Mets 1: Wandy Rodriguez’s first three starts were bad-good-bad, so he was due for “good,” right? (note: never take me to Las Vegas because I don’t understand how the world works). Rodriguez stymied the Mets, who have lost 11 of 13. Second baseman Justin Turner — new deck chair on the SS Mets — was 1 for 4 in his season debut.

Braves 10, Dodgers 1: The Braves explode against the Dodgers’ bullpen, putting up eight runs in the top of the ninth. Eric Hinske pinch hit that inning and, since they batted around, had both a homer and an RBI single. Not bad considering Braves pinch hitters had entered the game hitless on the year. Six two-hit shutout innings for Brandon Beachy.

Diamondbacks 5, Reds 4: Two homers for Ryan Roberts, who wasn’t even supposed to start. Thanks Melvin Mora’s sore foot!  The Reds have lost five of six, mostly because of bad starting pitching.

Royals 5, Indians 4: Kansas City jumped out to a 5-0 lead and nearly blew it as the Tribe scored four over the final three frames. Bruce Chen has now won seven straight decisions stretching back to last year.

Giants 6, Rockies 3: Ubaldo Jimenez’s return didn’t go much better than his debut, giving up four runs on six hits in five innings. A three-run homer for Pablo Sandoval.

Padres vs. Cubs: POSTPONED:  You can dream the American Dream, but you sleep with the lights on and wake up with a scream. You can hope against hope that nothing will change. Grab a hold of that fistful of rain. Grab a hold, grab a hold, grab a hold. Grab a hold, grab a hold, grab a hold of that fistful of rain.

Nationals vs. Cardinals POSTPONED: See the sky about to rain, broken clouds and rain. Locomotive, pull the train, whistle blowing through my brain.

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

aaron judge
Cole Burston/Getty Images
3 Comments

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.