And That Happened: Tuesday’s scores and highlights

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Nationals 9, Braves 2: The Nats continue to be an outrageous pain in Atlanta’s rear end. Before the game, mindful of this and mindful of the fact that Livan Hernandez always kills the Braves, I tweeted the following: “Oh, Livan is going against the Braves tonight? Prediction: 7 IP, 3H, 1 ER, 6K, 0 BB.”  He wasn’t that good, but I wasn’t far off: 7 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 1K, 3 BB.  The common thread there is a frustrating evening for Braves hitters against a guy who has no business getting major league hitters out after all of these years but dadgummit, keeps doing it.

Yankees 5, Red Sox 2: Did I say the rivalry was boring? A John Lackey pitch to Frank Cervelli’s back changed that at least for a little while, clearing the benches even if no one threw punches. There were some earlier plunkings, though they appeared without purpose. Lackey’s seemed to be in retaliation for a Cervelli home run. To which I say “don’t suck so bad that you’re giving up home runs to Frank Cervelli and you wouldn’t be in this position.”  CC Sabathia struck out ten dudes in six innings. And the game came in one whole minute under a cool four hours!

Phillies 9, Reds 0: Roy Halladay was dominating on the mound (7 IP. 2 H, 0 ER, 9K) and he even hit a bases-loaded double. At some point we’re just gonna have to face facts that he’s a Jedi or something.

Indians 6, Athletics 2: I started watching this one on TV — I couldn’t bear to see Livan Hernandez beat up the Braves — but then I turned it off and watched “Richard Pryor Here and Now” on Netflix. I dunno why. Just not in a baseball mood last night. But Pryor holds up even 30 years later.  Anyway: the recently-recalled Jeanmar Gomez flummoxed the A’s for six innings and the Tribe managed two two-run homers in the sixth to break it open.

Tigers 2, Royals 1: Doug Fister had a perfect game going through six but then gave up a run in the seventh on a double and a pair of sacrifices. Problem for him is that the Tigers couldn’t do anything themselves against Jeff Francis. They tied it up in the eighth, however, and then Ramon Santiago hit the walkoff bomb off Aaron Crow.

Marlins 6, Mets 0: Javier Vazquez shut the Mets out for seven innings. Mike Pelfrey … did not reciprocate.

Orioles 6, Blue Jays 5: A wild finish to a game that was tied after nine. The Jays took the lead in the top of the 10th on a Kelly Johnson triple and a subsequent wild pitch. But then in the bottom of the inning Brian Tallet walked the first two batters he faced and then gave up an RBI single to pinch hitter Jake Fox and a ground rule double to Ryan Adams. Which was appropriate given that it was a heartbreaker on a day the Jays’ manager was out with pneumonia.

White Sox 8, Twins 6:  Alejandro De Aza drove in four runs and the Sox rallied for five runs in the fifth.

Rangers 2, Rays 0: Big fly for Josh Hamilton and six scoreless for Scott Feldman. I’m going to assume all Rays losses from here on out are the direct result of the curse of the Garfoose.  Though, really, he was far too polite to curse anyone when he left. But still.

Cardinals 2, Brewers 1: A win for St. Louis in a series that once looked like it would have huge playoff implications but now really doesn’t. I suppose if the Cards sweep this one and next week’s series in St. Louis, and if the Brewers start to channel the 1964 Phillies, that yes, there are still playoff implications here. But I’m not really seein’ it.

Astros 8, Pirates 2: A six-run sixth inning for Houston.  Henry Sosa allowed two hits and struck out seven over six innings. Three straight wins for the Astros. Break ’em up.

Diamondbacks 9, Rockies 4: The Dbacks are streaking their way to the NL West title. Miguel Montero and Justin Upton each homered and drove in three runs.

Cubs 5, Giants 2: And, as has become common lately, the Giants have no answer.

Dodgers 8, Padres 5: Andre Ethier should fight with his team about crap more often. A grand slam helps L.A. to an eight-run second inning.

Angels 13, Mariners 6: Mike Trout hit two homers and drove in five, leading the rout. Probably worth noting that this game featured 19 runs, 22 hits and nine walks yet finished up over an hour more quickly than the Yankees-Red Sox game.

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

aaron judge
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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.