And That Happened: Wednesday’s scores and highlights

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Indians 8, Tigers 2: I’ve seen enough wrestling to know a work when I see one, and the Tigers not starting Miguel Cabrera against a team he routinely destroys was clearly a work designed to put the Indians over as a team that can actually, on occasion, beat the Tigers in a house show like this. Carlos Carrasco took a two-hit shutout into the eighth, but broke kayfabe to give up a two-run homer to J.D. Martinez.

Angels 2, Astros 1: A walkoff single for Taylor Featherston in the 13th. In other news, “Taylor Featherston” was the name I gave my villain character in the 1980s teen comedy screenplay I wrote that time. He was a rich kid on the swim team who competed with our John Cusackian hero for the affections of, umm, let’s say Lea Thompson. Why everything got resolved based on the results of a big swim meet is beyond me — and why were there cheerleaders at a swim meet? — but a writer has to conform to the conventions of his genre.

Nationals 2, Braves 1: Ian Desmond with a walkoff sac fly in the 11th as the Nats beat the Braves for the [frantically mashes keys on a calculator] 264th straight time. The sac fly was made possible by Dana Eveland loading the bases by giving up a double to Bryce Harper and walking two guys, one intentionally. This is Eveland’s worst work since he played the femme fatale in that truly misguided RKO noir from 1951, “Farewell my Tomato Can.”

Blue Jays 1, Rays 0: Marco Estrada took a perfect game into the eighth, thanks in part to a fantastic catch by Josh Donaldson. You don’t figure the Jays to win a lot of 1-0 games this year, but when everything breaks right oddities can occur.

Yankees 10, Phillies 2: Ivan Nova came off the DL to tame the Phillies. Not that taming the Phillies is particularly hard, Monday and Tuesday’s results notwithstanding. Cole Hamels had himself a not too great day, but given how little support he’s gotten from his teammates this year he’s allowed to mail one in once in a dang while. Save it for the contender you’re traded to, Cole. Don’t burn yourself out for these guys.

Twins 6, White Sox 1: It was Phil Hughes’ birthday yesterday. Working on your birthday is lame, but Hughes made it work, allowing one run over eight innings. Chris Sale reached double digits in strikeouts once again — it was the seventh straight time he did it, which is the longest streak since Randy Johnson did back in 2001 — but strikeouts ain’t enough in and of themselves. Sale lost to the Twins for the third time this year.

Reds 5, Pirates 2: A four-run first inning off of Gerrit Cole is not the sort of thing we’ve come to expect, but the Reds did it anyway. Cincinnati is about the only team who has gotten to Cole this year, actually. They scored three off of him on April 8, three off of him on May 6 and these five last night. No other team has scored three runs off Cole even once this year.

Red Sox 5, Orioles 1: A five-run sixth inning which included a David Ortiz homer powered the Sox to victory, but it was something of a Pyrrhic one, as Dustin Pedroia (hamstring) and Hanley Ramirez (bruised hand) each left with injuries. The Sox have won five of eight.

Cardinals 6, Marlins 1: Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but Giancarlo Stanton hit a homer but the Marlins were otherwise stopped cold. Jason Heyward homered for the third straight game. Jamie Garcia stifled the non-Stanton Marlins and even singled and scored. His ERA is down to 1.69.

Dodgers 5, Cubs 2: Justin Turner and Adrian Gonzalez homers helped snap the Cubs’ four-game winning streak. Turner surprised everyone with his .340/.404/.493 season last year. This year he’s hitting .323/.392/.575.

Athletics 8, Rangers 2: Four straight for Oakland, as Brett Lawrie hit a grand slam in their five-run first and never looked back. That was plenty of run support for Kendall Graveman. Which made me think of the word “gravamen” which is one of those words more people should use but don’t.

Brewers 4, Mets 1: Seven straight losses for the Mets as Jimmy Nelson held them to two hits over eight innings. After the game Terry Collins held a closed-door meeting with his team. Which I will never think about the same way again after what I read yesterday.

Diamondbacks 8, Rockies 7: Arizona rallied after being down two in the ninth, thanks in part to Yasmany Tomas’ RBI single — his fourth hit in the game — and a bases-loaded walk to Jarrod Saltalamacchia. These two teams have combined for 30 runs in two games. They play again today. If you are walking around Denver and see any baseball players getting breakfast this morning, the pitchers are the ones looking kind of sick and ordering dry toast.

Royals 8, Mariners 2: Mike Moustakas hit a two-run home run and Omar Infante had a three-run double as the Royals put up a seven-spot in the fourth inning. After the game, Eric Hosmer said “This is great for a team that’s built off pitching and defense.” Secret: no truly good teams are built solely on pitching and defense. What changed the Royals from lighting-in-a-bottle team in 2014 to strong contender in 2015 is the fact that they hit now.

Giants 6, Padres 0: Buster Posey hit a grand slam as the Giants cruised. Posey was playing first base as Brandon Belt covered left field. Posey hit a grand slam last Friday too.

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.