With the New York Yankees desperately needing to break out of a nine-game losing streak, their 2022 MVP, Aaron Judge, put the team on his back with a career night in the Bronx on Wednesday.
Judge hit three home runs in a single game for the first time in his career, as the Yankees defeated the Washington Nationals, 9-1. Judge was responsible for six of those runs.
The Yankees hadn’t lost this many games in a row since 1982, and after GM Brian Cashman described the season as a “disaster” prior to first pitch, the vibes certainly weren’t high at Yankee Stadium. They were dead last in the Al East with a 60-65 entering Wednesday.
Judge had the crowd screaming into the Bronx night with a stellar hitting display that begun with his first at-bat of the night.
Facing Nationals starter Mackenzie Gore, Judge launched a hanging breaking ball clear over his team’s bullpen in right center field to give the Yankees their first lead in 61 innings. It went an estimated 431 feet at 111.3 mph off the bat.
YANKEES GM BRIAN CASHMAN ‘SHOCKED’ WITH 2023 SEASON RESULTS: ‘IT’S BEEN A DISASTER’
The Yankees had a chance to really blow the game wide open when Judge stepped back into the batter’s box in the bottom of the second inning with bases loaded in a 2-0 game. And he wasted no time with a 94-mph fastball from Gore that caught way too much of the plate.
It was scorched to Monument Park in dead center field, topping his first homer at 437 feet with a 112.8 mph exit velocity to make it 6-0.
But Judge wasn’t done there.
In the bottom of the seventh inning, the game was already out of reach, yet Judge extended his arms and shot a ball over the short porch in right field to claim a home run feat he had yet to accomplish despite his prowess.
Judge’s three-homer night was the 37th in Yankees history, and his 32 multi-homer games is fifth-most in team history as well.
What’s even crazier is Judge now has 27 home runs on the season, which is tied-fifth in the American League. But he’s played only 72 games, which is tied-149th most in the AL.
Judge’s averaged hasn’t been what he might have wanted when he returned from a toe injury after smashing into a wall at Dodger Stadium in June. He was hitting .222 entering Wednesday since coming back, but he has five homers and a double with eight RBI in 22 games.
Though it might not save the Yankees’ season, fans will always love when their captain goes yard not once, but three times.