Late in the ninth inning and his team facing loss, Aaron Judge stepped in and fired his 60th homer of the season for the New York Yankees.
In a record strike, Judge is now tied with Babe Ruth and just one behind Roger Maris, who holds the American League’s all-time record with 61. But as Judge circled the bases, his team was still 8 -5.
The judge didn’t know it at the time, but he had just started to turn the game upside down. Shortly after, with the bases loaded, Giancarlo Stanton sent the ball into the stands with a Grand Slam outing to wrap up a superb 9-8 victory at Yankee Stadium.
“I didn’t think about numbers and statistics, I wanted to help my team win,” Judge said. “But this team has a never say die attitude.
“It’s hard to say what the number means, I don’t think of numbers. You can never imagine as a kid being mentioned with the names (which set HR records).
“You get a chance to play baseball at Yankee Stadium, I love every second of it. We have a chance to come back here and do something special. I’m trying to enjoy it all, absorb it all, but I I still have work to do.
Aaron Judge hit a historic 60th home run of the season to help the Yankees to a stunning victory
As Judge circled the bases, his Yankees team always looked set to be beaten by the Pirates
Ginacarlo Stanton then hit a Grand Slam walk to wrap up a Yankees win in the ninth
Judge and Stanton’s combined heroism sparked wild scenes at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday
Stanton himself was thrilled to finish the job after another stroke of genius from his teammate.
“There was a little motor on it to make sure,” Stanton said after his shot. “The judge gave us all a boost. He’s going to put on a show for everyone here. It’s next, it’s going to be fun to watch.
As Judge circled the bases, there was a subdued vibe in his body language as his team always looked ready to be beaten.
But he did not know that he had just ignited his team.
Anthony Rizzo doubled, Gleyber Torres walked and Josh Donaldson walked to load the bases, then Stanton duly made sure the Yankees celebrated properly soon.
He sent a huge blow to the left-field wall to complete a riposte that sealed a historic night.
“I kind of lost my mind,” Judge said. “It’s a signature Giancarlo stand. I had a good front row seat for that. I think the whole team lost their minds, the stadium erupted.
“A pretty special moment right there. That’s what this team is made of. Giancarlo is one of the biggest parts of our attack when he gets hot – you don’t know what he’s going to do.
“He is a leader in this clubhouse. We all have a few weeks left to turn up the sound.
With the goals loaded, Stanton got up and sent the ball into the stands for the win
Yankee Stadium went wild and the players led the jubilant scenes as Stanton circled
Yankees fans focused on Judge throughout Tuesday’s game and their hero delivered
Judge’s Night started quietly in his quest for 60, though it ended with a fireworks display. Roger Maris Jr. and Kevin Maris, son of the former player, were both present.
Specially marked balls were used whenever the judge walked to home plate. Fans in the outside seats rose to their feet and many in the crowd of 40,157 groaned at every foul ball.
“I think it was a home and away game and we were down and up against him. So for Judgey to roll and get the guys going, that was really good,’ Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “Happy for G, it’s been a chore for him.
“It was one of those really magical rounds. There was a magical spark tonight, it was special.
“It has been special to see him (judge) reach this level of player. He cares so much about his job, his role and who is on this team.
“But to see him worrying about every detail about how he can improve a bit – he talks to me a lot about making adjustments – and he was able to do that on another level.”
Judge has now reached 60 points in 147 games – the fastest Yankee in history – and he’s closing in on the legendary Ruth and her feat from 95 years ago.
The Yankees are back in action against Pittsburgh on Wednesday night, then play four games against rivals the Red Sox, all at Yankee Stadium.
Like the game itself, it was a final word from Stanton during his postgame press conference about teammate Judge that was most tantalizing.
“There’s no limit,” he said of how many home runs the judge could hit this season. “It’s one bat, one pitch at a time.”