|Aaron Judge watching his third home run of the night travel to right field. All photos by Jason Schott.|
Aaron Judge hit three home runs on Friday night, and drove in all but one of the Yankees' runs in a 7-1 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks at Yankee Stadium.
Judge is now the first Yankee to have two three-homer games in a single season.
This now gives Judge 35 home runs on the season, the fourth time in his career he has hit that plateau, with the other instances the 52 he hit as a rookie in 2017, the 39 in 2021, and of course, the American League-record 62 he hit last season. Ironically, the Yankees are giving out a bobblehead commemorating 62 on Saturday)
The six RBI Judge had gives him 70 RBI to go along with those 35 dingers, and he did it in just 100 games, as he missed 53 games due to multiple stints on the injured list.
This was Judge's second three-home run game of the season, with the first coming on August 23 against the Washington Nationals, when he also notched six RBI.
Judge is now the sixth player in franchise history to have multiple three-homer games, as Lou Gehrig did it four times in his career, Joe DiMaggio and Alex Rodriguez both did it three times, and Tony Lazzeri and Bobby Murcer each did it twice.
Judge now has 33 multi-home run games in his career, fifth-most in Yankee history, behind Babe Ruth (68), Mickey Mantle (46), Lou Gehrig (43), and Joe DiMaggio (35).
This was the sixth multi-HR game of the 2023 campaign for Judge, tied for second-most in the Majors, trailing only the Atlanta Braves' Matt Olson, who has eight. Olson leads MLB with 53, while Judge is 12th with 35. Within the American League, Judge is third behind the Angels' Shohei Ohtani (44) and the Chicago White Sox's Luis Robert Jr.'s 37.
Judge's night began with a liner up the left-center field gap that he legged out for a double in the first inning.
Then, in the third, Judge came up with two runners on base and one out after the frame opened with Oswaldo Cabrera lacing a single and Oswald Peraza reaching on an error by Arizona pitcher Brandon Pfaadt, as he was handcuffed by the grounder up the middle.
Judge blasted one the other way, to the back wall of the Yankees bullpen in right-center field, a no-doubter that made it 3-0 Yankees.
In the fifth, after Estevan Florial hit an RBI double, Judge blasted a two-run shot to nearly the same spot in right field, but this time into the seats to the right of the bullpen.
Then, to cap the night off, Judge blasted another one to right, this time into the second deck. This one came off Arizona reliever Slade Cecconi, while the first two came off starter Brandon Pfaadt.
"He just absolutely squared some balls tonight," Yankees Manager Aaron Boone said in his postgame press conference. "They hit some balls hard, weird wind night, a lot of balls getting held up, so you had to hit some things a certain way, and you know, the way Judgie was hitting them...that first homer, and then opposite field down the line into the upper deck, or the second deck, just four great swings, and the double to start things, the hustle double that he smokes in the hole there. Just really good to see him get off that level of swings at-bat after at-bat."
On what he makes of Judge being third in the A.L. in home runs despite missing massive time this season, Boone said, "I think you're just watching a great player - that's greatness. You know, 35 now, that's what it is? I mean, you know, special player that lost some time this year. He's just different than everyone else...
"I felt like the last game against Toronto that he was starting to look like, uh-oh, here we go, and then tonight, first at-bat, drilled! Comes up the second at-bat, first-pitch sinker, bam! Over the bullpen, wherever it ended up. You could tell he was locked in. You could tell he was feeling good."
On the third home run, Boone said, "You're not surprised when you see it, and it's a no-doubter into the second deck the other way, it's like, 'man, he's different."
Judge In Motion: Tracking his third home run of Friday night: