Rodgers, McMahon go deep, Rockies top Goldschmidt, Cards 8-6

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DENVER — Brendan Rodgers and Ryan McMahon hit back-to-back home runs in a six-run seventh inning, and the Colorado Rockies held off the St. Louis Cardinals 8-6 on Thursday to secure their first series win since the All-Star break.

The Rockies overcame three more hits from Paul Goldschmidt, including his 27th home run, to improve to 7-14 since July 22.

Former Rockies slugger Nolan Arenado hit his 24th home run to extend his hitting streak to nine games, but struck out looking with two on in the ninth to end it for the Cardinals. They lost for the second time in three tries since winning seven straight.

Jordan Hicks (3-6) walked two with one out in the seventh and was relieved by Genesis Cabrera. Charlie Blackmon pulled a grounder through the right side to snap a 2-all tie and Jose Iglesias followed with an RBI single up the middle.

Rodgers then belted a first-pitch changeup an estimated 407 feet. The three-run homer made him 10 for 19 over his past four games. McMahon’s solo shot to right ended the day for Cabrera, who threw just 13 pitches.

Goldschmidt, who improved his NL-leading batting average to .332, hit a two-run homer and Arenado followed with a solo shot in the eighth off Alex Colome, but St. Louis got no closer. The Cardinals, who also got a solo home run from Nolan Gorman, saw their lead over Milwaukee in the NL Central sliced to a half-game ahead of their three-game series in St. Louis starting Friday.

Brian Serven added a two-run double and Lucas Gilbreath (1-0) pitched a perfect seventh for Colorado. Daniel Bard loaded the bases with one out in the ninth, but got Goldschmidt to ground into an RBI forceout before fanning Arenado with a slider for his 24th save in 26 chances.

Cardinals starter Dakota Hudson allowed four hits and four walks in five innings, while Rockies right-hander German Marquez worked around eight hits and struck out six. He got out of a jam in his sixth and final inning when he fanned Paul DeJong and Tyler O’Neil with runners on second and third.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Cardinals: RHP Jack Flaherty (shoulder) was to start the opener of a doubleheader for Triple-A Memphis after his rehab start Wednesday was rained out.

Rockies: CF Yonathan Daza made a running catch of Arenado’s fly to right center in the first, then tumbled to the ground on his left shoulder. Daza was assisted off the field through the Rockies’ bullpen and didn’t return with what the team called a shoulder sprain. … C Elias Diaz (hand) was awaiting MRI results after being injured on a swing Wednesday. X-rays after the game were negative.

LINEUP WRINKLES

After homering and collecting four hits Wednesday while playing first base, St. Louis’ Albert Pujols had the day off in his last appearance at Coors Field. Pujols began his major league career in Denver on April 2, 2001, going 1 for 3.

The retiring Pujols’ next game will be his 3,035th and move him past Ty Cobb for fifth in major league history.

A day after tripling twice, Lars Nootbaar led off with a double in his first game atop the Cardinals’ order. Tyler O'Neill started in center field ahead of struggling Dylan Carlson.

UP NEXT

Cardinals: LHP Jordan Montgomery (4-3, 3.53 ERA) starts Friday night against Milwaukee LHP Eric Lauer (8-3, 3.59).

Rockies: RHP Antonio Senzatela (3-6, 4.68) starts Friday night at Coors Field against Arizona RHP Zach Davies (2-4, 4.03) as Colorado seeks consecutive wins for the first time since July 15-16.

Yankees star Judge hits 62nd homer to break Maris’ AL record

New York Yankees v Texas Rangers - Game Two
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ARLINGTON, Texas – Aaron Judge hit his 62nd home run of the season Tuesday night, breaking Roger Maris’ American League record and setting what some fans consider baseball’s “clean” standard.

The 30-year-old Yankees slugger drove a 1-1 slider from Texas right-hander Jesus Tinoco into the first couple of rows of seats in left field when leading off the second game of New York’s day-night doubleheader.

Maris’ 61 for the Yankees in 1961 had been exceeded six times previously, but all were tainted by the stench of steroids. Mark McGwire hit 70 for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1998 and 65 the following year. Barry Bonds hit an MLB-record 73 for the San Francisco Giants in 2001, and the Chicago Cubs’ 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 as holder of the legitimate record.

A Ruthian figure with a smile as outsized as his body, the 6-foot-7 Judge has rocked the major leagues with a series of deep drives that hearken to the sepia tone movie reels of his legendary pinstriped predecessors.

“He should be revered for being the actual single-season home run champ,” Roger Maris Jr. said Wednesday night after his father’s mark was matched by Judge. “I think baseball needs to look at the records and I think baseball should do something.”

Judge had homered only once in the past 13 games, and that was when he hit No. 61 last Wednesday in Toronto. The doubleheader nightcap in Texas was his 55th game in row played since Aug. 5.

After a single in five at-bats in the first game Tuesday, Judge was 3 for 17 with five walks and a hit by pitch since moving past the 60 home runs Babe Ruth hit in 1927, which had stood as the major league record for 34 years. Maris hit his 61st off Boston’s Tracy Stallard at old Yankee Stadium on Oct. 1, 1961.

Judge has a chance to become the first AL Triple Crown winner since Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera in 2012. He leads the AL with 131 RBIs and began the day trailing Minnesota’s Luis Arraez, who was hitting .315.

The home run in his first at-bat put him back to .311, where he had started the day before dropping a point in the opener.

Judge’s accomplishment will cause endless debate.

“To me, the holder of the record for home runs in a season is Roger Maris,” author George Will said earlier this month. “There’s no hint of suspicion that we’re seeing better baseball than better chemistry in the case of Judge. He’s clean. He’s not doing something that forces other players to jeopardize their health.”