Yankees, Aaron Judge slug Brewers to stop skid

·4 min read

MILWAUKEE — They say home runs come in bunches and Sunday they did for Aaron Judge and the Yankees. Judge, chasing the American League record of 61 homers, hit two homers and the Bombers hit five as the beat the Brewers 12-8 to salvage the final game of the three-game series at American Family Field.

The Yankees (88-58) snapped a two-game losing streak to avoid being swept by the Brewers (78-68), who are battling for a National League Wild Card. The Yankees held on to their 5.5 game lead over the Blue Jays in the American League East with 16 games to play. Their magic number is 11 to win the division.

Judge, Anthony Rizzo, Aaron Hicks and Oswaldo Cabrera each homered.

Rizzo was playing in his first game since Aug. 31 after having an epidural to treat a nagging back issue only to have the procedure cause him to suffer migraine headaches. It was his 31st of the season, one shy of his career high. He went 3-for-6 with two runs scored.

“When I’ve got him behind me, a guy that can hit the ball out of the park, hit for average, hit home runs it makes my job easier,” Judge said of having Rizzo back. “I’m gonna get a couple more pitches over the plate, because they don’t want to face him by walking me and putting  guys in scoring positions. So my approach didn’t change too much. I tried to stay aggressive and I’m happy he’s back, he took some good healthy swings.”

For Hicks, it was just his seventh of the season, but his first since July 9.

It was Cabrera’s second major league homer. The rookie went 3-for-3 with a walk and was a triple short of the cycle.

And Judge moved two home runs away from history with his 11th multi-home run game of the season and 27th of his career. He is two shy of the American League record of 61 home runs set by Roger Maris in 1961.

Judge hit his 58th home run of the season in the third inning.

In the seventh, Judge crushed a 1-2 slider off right-hander Luis Perdomo to left field. The 443-foot shot pulled the 29-year old within one of Babe Ruth for second on the Yankees all-time list of single season home runs.

Judge had been held without a home run for three straight games. He had flown out in the first inning. In the third, he went down and got a 92-mile an hour sinker from Brewers right-hander Jason Alexander and shot it into the second deck of right field. The home run was an estimated 414 feet, according to StatCast.

“Sorry to repeat the same line but I mean, it’s historical,” Gerrit Cole said of Judge’s run. “I got nothing else for you. It’s the greatest offensive season that I’ve personally ever witnessed. So I don’t know what else to say. I mean, it’s a wonderful, wonderful ride. Dude, it’s amazing.”

It was also very helpful to Cole, who allowed just four hits, but two of them were homers. Cole walked three and struck out eight in five innings of work.

“I’m processing the process right now,” Cole said of his tendency to give up homers. “I think to be honest, I don’t really have a good answer for you. In some cases it’s kind of remarkable but I mean, I really need to be better. Certainly today, you just get to the situation with Wong and the bottom line is you’re asking for trouble walking two guys in the first.”

He walked Willy Adames with one out and Hunter Renfroe with two in the first inning, setting up the three-run shot by Kolten Wong. In the second inning he gave up a two-out home run to Tyrone Taylor, the Brewers’ No. 9 hitter.

In the fifth, after being handed a three-run lead, Cole gave up a leadoff double to Taylor and walked Christian Yelich to have to face Adames, who had had three homers in each the first two games of the series, with no outs. The Brewers shortstop beat out a ground ball to third, but the Yankees got Yelich at second. Cole struck out Rowdy Tellez and Renfroe to get out of the inning.

It was the fifth straight start Cole had allowed at least a home run and the seventh time he’s allowed multiple homers this season. He has given up 29 homers this season, the second most in the majors.

Clarke Schmidt gave up a two-run shot to Rowdy Tellez in the bottom of the eighth. Clay Holmes gave up a two-run, ground rule double to Jace Peterson in the ninth.