And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

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Dodgers 3, Mets 0: When I noticed that Clayton Kershaw — who, after a slow-for-him start has been his old dominant self lately — was going to be facing the Mets this week, my first thought was that it was gonna be a slaughter. Then my second thought was that baseball is weird and unpredictable and you can’t ever hype games in advance and hope that they’ll conform to the hype, so that it’d probably be the case that the Mets would score six runs off of him in five innings. Just go with your first impulse, Craig. Just go with your first impulse. A perfecto into the seventh which ended in a three-hit shutout on 104 pitches with 11 strikeouts. He now has 29 consecutive scoreless innings and is on pace for a 300+ strikeout year.

Yankees 9, Orioles 3: The sweep, as the Yankees are just rolling. It must suck to be a Yankees columnist now, what with there being no controversy and stuff. Maybe you can write a “are the Yankees peaking too soon?!” alarmist column, but that only really gets you a day. Thoughts, prayers.Jacoby Ellsbury singled, doubled and homered — but did not “finish a triple shy of the cycle because that is not a notable thing as it has happens hundreds of times a season — and drove in four runs. Chase Headley hit a bases-clearing double in the first inning.

Blue Jays 5, Athletics 2: Russell Martin drove in three  — two of ’em on a two run homer — to back R.A. Dickey who pitched into the ninth inning. So if it was just the two of them playing the Jays would win. Wait, not. If it was just the two of them there would be a LOT of inside the park homers. Never mind.

Pirates 7, Nationals 3: Francisco Liriano pitched into the seventh, allowing three hits and struck out 11. Crazy stat/factoid thingie from the AP wire story: Liriano retired the first 12 hitters he faced on either strikeouts or grounders back to the mound. So maybe in this one the pitcher, catcher and first baseman could’ve been the only ones to play and the Pirates would’ve been just fine?

Cardinals 4, Royals 3: World Series preview? Well, maybe not quite as this was just a rainout makeup and the real World Series will last longer than one game. At least as long as we don’t have a “Dark Knight Rises” situaish happen with some garbled-mouth terrorist taking over Kansas City. Of course if that does happen it’ll be a lot easier to escape what with K.C. really only having a river on one side of it and a lot of ways to leave it without having to cross major bridges and things. Oh, this game, right: John Lackey pitched well. Grichuk and Carpenter each hit two-run homers. As for these two teams matching up, ugh. We’re all sort of tired of the Cardinals, right? If they’re playing deep into October again I *Bane voice* won’t fear death. I’ll welcome it. Our punishment must be more severe.

Mariners 3, Tigers 2: Mike Zunino had an RBI double in the top of the 12th inning. He also extinguished a scoring threat in the 10th by throwing out Anthony Gose trying to steal. All this after entering the game late following Jesus Sucre being lifted for a pinch hitter. Which means that, technically speaking, he wasn’t even supposed to be here today.

Marlins 4, Padres 0: In Soviet Russia, Koehler flushes YOU! Tom Koehler: 7 IP, 3 H 0 ER. The Fish put up a four-run sixth on a wild pitch a throwing error and a couple of singles.

Twins 3, Angels 0: Ervin Santana tossed eight four-hit shutout innings against his old mates. And this time it could be meant literally as there are a lot of dudes on that Angels team who were there when Santana played for ’em. Trevor Plouffe hit a three-run homer for the game’s only offense. This thing lasted two hours and sixteen minutes. Getaway day, man. Getaway day.

 

White Sox 8, Indians 1: Jeff Samardzija could’ve just made his last start as a White, um, Sock. If so it was a good one: he allowed one run on four hits in eight innings. Meanwhile, Melky Cabrera went 2-for-3 with two homers.

Astros 5, Red Sox 4: Jose Altuve’s walkoff homer sent the Sox to their eighth straight loss. Altuve had four hits on the night. When does Patriots training camp start? Heck, folks in Boston may even settle for the Celtics right about now.

Diamondbacks 8, Brewers 3: Zack Godley made his major league debut and all he did was strike out seven in six shutout innings. From the AP story, this quote from Chip Hale:

“The umpire, Brian O’Nora, came over and said, `This guy has got really good stuff.'”

That’s pretty good, yes? According to Elias, Godley is the first pitcher since at least 1900 to throw at least six scoreless innings with no walks and seven or more strikeouts in his major league debut. That’s also pretty good.

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

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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.