And That Happened: Sunday’s scores and highlights

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Yankees 6, Red Sox 2; Red Sox 7, Yankees 4: Early game: when you get beat by a strong outing from A.J. Burnett and a big homer from Jorge Posada, maybe the universe is trying to tell you something, Red Sox. Late Game: Wowzers. Jacoby Ellsbury is getting all the glory — as he should — but let’s not overlook the fantastic job the Sox pen did in that game. Jonathan Papelbon went way past his usual allotment.  Franklin Morales and Felix Doubront likewise came up big. Boston retains a one-game lead in the wild card.

Rays 5, Blue Jays 2: Tampa Bay takes two of three from Toronto as the Red Sox falter. All Rays runs came on homers, including an inside-the-parker for Ben Zobrist.

Nationals 3, Braves 0: OF COURSE the Nats took two of three from the Braves. There have been less certain things than that carved into stone by ancient civilizations possessing Oracles of Seeing. Ross Detwiler shut ’em out for six innings and the bullpen did the rest.

Cardinals 3, Cubs 2: OF COURSE the Cubs blew a lead in two of three games to the Cardinals. There have been less certain things than that done by the Nationals to the Braves. Late homers for Yadier Molina and Rafael Furcal pull the Cardinals to within a game of Atlanta with three to play.

Diamondbacks 5, Giants 2: Talk about an F-U series. The Dbacks didn’t need these games at all — they had clinched — and then they sweep the Giants anyway. Cold, man. Ice water. Assassin-like.

Tigers 10, Orioles 6: Miguel Cabrera went 2 for 3 with a homer and a couple of RBI. He could still win the batting title and has an OPS of 1.025. But he can’t be mentioned as an MVP candidate — no sir! — because to do so would ruin the whole “Justin Verlander is a one-man gang” narrative with which everyone seems so smitten.

Phillies 9, Mets 4: Philly breaks a nine-game losing streak. You guys can now immediately go from “we’re doomed!” back to “we’re the best team evah!”

Dodgers 6, Padres 2: Matt Kemp’s 1 for 5 didn’t help his triple crown case, but hey, the win is what is important. Wait. Not at this point of the season it isn’t. Damn.

Brewers 9, Marlins 5: Ryan Braun went 2 for 3 with a homer. But to hear Milwaukee fans tell it — when they’re denigrating Matt Kemp’s MVP case — that homer shouldn’t count. I mean, after all, since the Brewers have already clinched, that game was meaningless, right?

Athletics 6, Angels 5: Just wasn’t meant to be for the Angels this year. Blowing leads of 3-0 and 5-2 in the eighth and ninth innings would probably have hurt more if they were another game or two closer. Now they need both Tampa Bay and the Red Sox to get swept in the season’s final series. Not bloody likely.

Rangers 12, Mariners 5: Anyone besides me hoping against hope for a Rangers-Tigers ALCS?  Seems like the two best clubs goin’ right now.  Yorvit Torrealba hit two homers, one of which was a grand slam.

Reds 5, Pirates 4: Dontrelle Willis wins his first game of the year. He also doubled in two runs. Perhaps he can build on this into his next … oh, wait.

Royals 2, White Sox 1: Luis Mendoza allowed one run over seven and two-thirds.

Twins 6, Indians 4: All kinds of guys I’ve never heard of and most of us will not hear much about again any time soon figured in this one. Rene Tosoni with a big homer in tenth which stood up as the game-winner. Kyle Waldrop got the win in relief. Hunter McKenzie had a nifty defensive play to help send it to extra innings. One of those three was made up. I bet without looking most of you couldn’t say which one it was.

Rockies 19, Astros 3: Take comfort, Atlanta! Houston looks primed to give the Cardinals a big fight in the season’s final series! Oy. Two homers for Kevin Kouzmanoff. Five RBI a piece for him and Chris Ianetta.

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.