Dodgers defeat Twins 8-5 to extend winning streak to 10

Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports
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LOS ANGELES — Chris Taylor hit the go-ahead home run in the sixth inning, Joey Gallo added a three-run shot in the seventh and the Los Angeles Dodgers extended their season-high winning streak to 10 games with an 8-5 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday night.

It is the first time since July 2017 that the Dodgers have put together a double-digit winning streak. It is also their third straight series sweep and 14th of the season.

Max Muncy also went deep for Los Angeles, which has the majors’ best record at 77-33 and is 16 games in front of second-place San Diego in the NL West.

Jorge Polanco and Gary Sanchez homered for Minnesota (57-53), which fell out of the AL Central lead after its loss and Cleveland’s win at Detroit.

Taylor, who came off the injured list last Friday after missing 26 games with a broken left foot, gave the Dodgers a 5-4 advantage with his first home run since June 3, a solo shot to left field off reliever Michael Fulmer (4-5).

Gallo came on as a pinch hitter and provided some breathing room with a three-run drive to left-center. It was the Dodgers’ second pinch-hit homer of the season and the second of Gallo’s career.

David Price (1-0), the third of six Dodgers pitchers, got the win.

The Twins had a 4-2 lead in the fifth after a three-run homer by Polanco in the second and Sanchez’s solo shot in the fifth off starter Ryan Pepiot.

Mookie Betts started Los Angeles’ comeback with a double in the bottom half and he scored on Trea Turner‘s single. Turner stole second and the Dodgers tied it at 4 on Will Smith’s RBI double.

Muncy led off the second by lining an elevated sinker from starter Sonny Gray over the right-field wall. Cody Bellinger extended the lead to 2-0 later in the inning when his sacrifice fly drove in Justin Turner.

Minnesota responded with a three-run third capped by Polanco’s drive to right field.

TICKET WINDOW

Freddie Freeman bobblehead night drew the largest crowd in the majors this season at 53,432. It was the Dodgers’ 13th sellout of the year.

FOR STARTERS

Gray had given up only two earned runs in three starts since the All-Star break but ran into problems against the Dodgers. The right-hander went 4 2/3 innings, allowing four runs – three earned – and six hits. He struck out five.

Pepiot was called up for his fourth stint this season and allowed the leadoff hitter to reach base in four of five innings. Pepiot struck out four but gave up four runs and five hits in 4 1/3 innings.

THEY DON’T LIKE LA

The Twins dropped all four games to the Dodgers this season. Minnesota was outscored 32-10 and has lost 10 straight in the series dating to 2014.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Dodgers: RHP Dustin May will make one more rehab start for Triple-A Oklahoma City on Sunday before being activated off the injured list. Manager Dave Roberts said May, who had Tommy John surgery 15 months ago, could likely pitch when Los Angeles returns home to face Miami in a weekend series beginning Aug. 19. … LHP Clayton Kershaw (back) did some light tossing during pregame workouts.

UP NEXT

Twins: Remain in Southern California for a three-game series against the Angels. RHP Tyler Mahle (5-7, 4.49 ERA) makes his second start for Minnesota since being acquired from Cincinnati.

Dodgers: Continue interleague play with three games in Kansas City starting Friday. RHP Tony Gonsolin (13-1, 2.30 ERA) gets the call in the series opener.

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.