Aaron Judge belted his Major League-leading 29th homer on Wednesday to equal the New York Yankees’ franchise record for a rookie set by Joe DiMaggio in 1936.
Judge’s two-run blast in the fourth inning was his second home run in as many days.
He drove a 92 mph (148 Km/h) fastball from Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Marco Estrada over the wall in right center field. It trimmed Toronto’s lead to 5-2, but the Blue Jays went on to triumph 7-6.
“To be mentioned in the same sentence as Joe DiMaggio is incredible,” Judge said. “It’s quite an honor.”
Judge’s 29 homers are the most by a rookie prior to the All-Star break since Chicago White Sox slugger Jose Abreu had the same number in 2014.
Mark McGwire had 33 at the break with the Oakland Athletics in 1987.
Despite putting his name next to that of a Yankees icon, Judge was smarting after the game over his final at-bat, a swing strikeout with Brett Gardner on first base and New York trailing by a run in the ninth.
“That’s the moment you want to be up, runner on, chance to win the ballgame,” Judge said. “It’s what you dream of. Just wasn’t able to come up and get the job done.
“It’s tough when you lose games like that _ close games,” Judge added. “We battled back, we got down a little bit, but we battled back.”
Judge, 25, is the American League’s leading vote-getter for the upcoming All-Star Game in Miami. He will also participate in the Home Run Derby that makes up part of the All-Star festivities.
Before then the Yankees have three games against the Milwaukee Brewers, but he wasn’t thinking about surpassing DiMaggio’s mark — only about winning ballgames.
“We just have to regroup, take this off day and get ready for the next homestand,” Judge said.
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