Judge hits 58th and 59th homers, Yankees beat Brewers 12-8

New York Yankees v Boston Red Sox
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MILWAUKEE – Aaron Judge hit his 58th and 59th home runs of the season to move within two of Roger Maris’ American League record with 16 games remaining and lead the New York Yankees over the Milwaukee Brewers 12-8 on Sunday.

Judge added a two-run double in the ninth as part of a four-hit day for New York (88-58), which hit five homers and avoided a three-game sweep. The Yankees opened a 5 1/2-game lead over second-place Toronto in the AL East and headed to the Bronx for a homestand against Pittsburgh and Boston that starts Tuesday.

“They’re going to be like over the edge, slapping at things, and beer is going to be flying everywhere,” pitcher Gerrit Cole predicted. “It’s probably not going to be a child-friendly environment in the bleachers. It’s going to be nuts.”

Judge’s 11th multihomer game tied the season record set by Detroit’s Hank Greenberg 1938 and matched by the Chicago Cubs’ Sammy Sosa in 1998.

Seeking a Triple Crown, Judge leads the major leagues in homers and with 127 RBIs. His .3162 batting average is just behind AL leader Luis Arraez of Minnesota at .317 and Boston’s Xander Bogaerts at .3164.

“We have some big games coming up,” Judge said. “That’s really the only thing on my mind right now. My focus is to go out there and win a game.”

Milwaukee (78-68) dropped two games behind San Diego, which played later Sunday, for the third and last NL wild card.

Judge’s homers totaled 857 feet. His first came on a sinker from Jason Alexander with a 2-0 count in the third inning, a 414-foot, opposite-field drive into the right field second deck.

Judge became the first player with five batted balls of 110 mph or more in a game since Statcast started tracking in 2015, the hardest at 115.4 mph.

“You have to come with your best stuff against him,” Alexander said. “I felt like I made some good pitches, and it’s tough when you can paint one on the outside and he still puts it 110 (mph) into the stands. It’s a really thin margin of error.”

Then in the seventh against Luis Perdomo, Judge pulled a slider with a 1-2 count for a 443-foot shot to left.

“This is his moment right now. When you make a mistake against him, he’s going to take advantage of it,” Perdomo said.

Judge also walked against Hoby Milner (3-3) leading off a four-run fifth as the Yankees went ahead to stay at 7-4.

Judge had not homered in his previous three games since going deep twice at Boston’s Fenway Park.

Philadelphia’s Kyle Schwarber is a distant second in the major leagues with 39 homers. Judge became the first player since Mookie Betts in 2018 to top 10 WAR by FanGraphs. Since 2012, only Betts, Mike Trout (twice) and Buster Posey had reached that mark

Maris hit 61 homers for the Yankees in 1961, one more than Babe Ruth in 1927.

Anthony Rizzo homered in his return from the injured list, his 31st of the season, and had three hits. Aaron Hicks and rookie Oswaldo Cabrera also went deep as the Yankees overcame 3-0 and 4-1 deficits.

New York had 16 hits and twice hit back-to-home homers: Judge and Rizzo in the third, then Hicks and Judge in the seventh.

Cole (12-7) gave up Kolten Wong‘s three-run homer in the first and Tyrone Taylor‘s solo shot in the second, Cole has allowed second-most in the majors and trailing only Washington’s Josiah Gray at 37.

“I don’t really have a good answer,” Cole said. “In some cases, it’s kind of remarkable. But I need to be better.”

Rowdy Tellez hit a two-run homer in the eighth off Clarke Schmidt. Milwaukee scored twice in the ninth and brought up the potential tying run with one out before Clay Holmes struck out Luis Urias and retired Keston Hiura on a groundout.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Yankees: Boone said the team was waiting for doctors to review an MRI taken on RHP Frankie Montas‘ throwing shoulder. . RHP Scott Effross (strained right shoulder) gave up a leadoff homer to Bobby Dalbec and a pair of doubles as he pitched the fifth inning for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre against Worcester. … RHP Albert Abreu (elbow inflammation) pitched a scoreless inning for Double-A Somerset, striking out two and allowing one hit. … Boone said INF/OF Marwin Gonzalez was feeling better after being removed from Saturday’s game when struck on the helmet by a throw from Brewers catcher Victor Caratini while standing in the batter’s box. .C Jose Trevino was out of the starting lineup for a second consecutive day after leaving Friday’s game with a bruised right knee.

UP NEXT

Yankees: LHP Nestor Cortes (10-4, 2.70 ERA) will make his 26th start of the season.

Brewers: RHP Corbin Burnes (10-7, 2.97) gets the start as Milwaukee opens a three-game home series with the New York Mets. Burnes is 2-0 with a 1.71 ERA against the Mets.

Pujols has 2 more RBIs, Cardinals beat Pirates 8-7 in 10

Cincinnati Reds v St. Louis Cardinals
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PITTSBURGH – Albert Pujols drove in two more runs and the St. Louis Cardinals went on to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 8-7 in 10 innings Tuesday night.

Pujols hit a two-run single in the third inning to push his career total to 2,218 RBIs. That came a night after he broke a tie with Babe Ruth for second place on the career list. Hank Aaron holds the record with 2,287.

Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol then removed the 42-year-old Pujols at the end of the inning. St. Louis opens postseason play Friday when it hosts a best-of-three National League wild-card series.

Juan Yepez gave the Cardinals the win when he hit a tiebreaking single with one in the 10th inning off Chase De Jong (6-3) to score automatic runner Ben Deluzio.

“Tonight was interesting because you’re fairly scripted in who you want to use and who you don’t want to use and what you want tomorrow to look like so you can get ready for Friday,” Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said. “It was a good one to still figure out a way to come out on top.”

The Cardinals threw out the potential tying run at home in the bottom of the 10th when automatic runner Kevin Newman tried to score from second base on Oneil Cruz‘s line single off the glove of first baseman Alec Burleson. The ball deflected to second baseman Brendon Donovan, who threw home to catcher Andrew Knizner.

The Pirates challenged the call, but it was upheld on video review.

“I thought we were going to get it overturned,” Newman said. “I just thought he didn’t tag me until he got higher up on the body.”

It was the Pirates’ 100th loss, the second year in a row they have reached that mark.

The Cardinals got two hits each from Donovan, Corey Dickerson, Knizner and Paul DeJong.

Cruz had three hits for the Pirates and Bryan Reynolds, Rodolfo Castro, Jack Suwinski, Ke'Bryan Hayes and Ji-Hwan Bae added two apiece. Miguel Andujar drove in two runs.

Chris Stratton (10-4) pitched two scoreless innings for the win.

“They weren’t the prettiest two innings I’ve ever pitched but I got a great play from the defense in the 10th inning to help me out,” Stratton said. “It was a good play all the way around.’

Pujols’ hit put the Cardinals ahead 3-1 but the Pirates answered with six runs in the bottom of the third. Andujar’s run-scoring double highlighted an inning that includes RBI singles by Castro, Suwinski, Ben Gamel and Bae.

The Cardinals then scored four runs in the seventh inning to tie the score at 7-all. Donovan hit an RBI single, Dickerson drove in two runs with a double and the tying run scored on a throwing error by Cruz, the rookie shortstop.

Both starting pitchers lasted just 2 2/3 innings. The Cardinals’ Dakota Hudson was rocked for seven runs and nine hits while the Pirates’ JT Brubaker allowed three runs on four hits.

Brubaker was activated from the injured list before the game. He had been out since Sept. 16 with right lat discomfort.

HELSLEY HURT

Reliever Ryan Helsley, the Cardinals’ closer, left in the eighth inning with a jammed right middle finger. Helsley was injured after catching a line drive by Bae and using his hands to brace himself while dodging a piece of a broken bat.

Helsley said he expects to be ready to pitch Friday.

“I don’t think there was anything super wrong with it,” Helsley said. `Just give it some rest and let it resolve itself.”

ROSTER MOVES

The Pirates optioned right-hander Roansy Contreras to Triple-A Indianapolis to clear a roster spot for Brubaker. They also recalled infielder/outfielder Tucapita Marcano from Indianapolis and optioned catcher Jose Godoy to the same club.

PIRATES AWARDS

Center fielder Bryan Reynolds was voted the winner of the Roberto Clemente Award, emblematic of the Pirates’ MVP, by the Pittsburgh chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America.

Mitch Keller won the Steve Blass Award for best pitcher. Former infielder Michael Chavis was voted the Chuck Tanner Good Guy Award.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Cardinals: OF Tyler O'Neill (strained right hamstring) has been ruled out for the wild-card series but St. Louis is hopeful he can play in the NLDS round if it advances. . 3B Nolan Arenado (left quadriceps tightness) missed his second straight game but could play Wednesday.

UP NEXT

Cardinals: Have not decided on a starter for Wednesday, though Marmol said LHP Matthew Liberatore (2-1, 5.46) and RHP Jake Woodford (4-0, 2.33) are possibilities.

Pirates: RHP Johan Oviedo (4-3, 3.12), who was acquired from the Cardinals on Aug. 1, gets the start.