NEW YORK (AP) — Aaron Judge sent a sinker into the left field stands, another of his undisputed runs, and circled the bases for the 60th time.
Humble on a march into history that now has him right with Babe Ruth, Judge then took a moment far rarer than one of his long balls—a curtain call.
“I really didn’t want to do it, especially because we’re losing. It’s a solo shot,” he said, recalling how his home run in the ninth inning narrowed the Yankees deficit to only three runs.
Eleven minutes later, Judge and the Yankees felt free to let go.
Giancarlo Stanton followed Judge’s drive with a game-ending grand slam, completing New York’s stunning five-run, ninth-inning rally, beating the Pittsburgh Pirates 9-8 on Tuesday night.
“I kind of lost my mind,” said Judge, who is a homer shy to match Roger Maris’ season record in the American League. “That’s a signature Giancarlo Stanton 10-foot laser to the outfield. I had a good front row seat before that. I think the whole team lost their minds and the stadium erupted.”
Judge homered on a 3-1 pitch by Wil Crowe (5-10) to equal Ruth’s 1927 total, which was the big league record until Maris broke it 34 years later.
Judge is on track for the AL’s first Triple Crown in ten years, with home runs, RBIs (128) and batting average (0.316).
He dropped his bat at the plate—he never flips—and when he was done trotting, he exchanged a high-five with Anthony Rizzo, a hug with Gleyber Torres, and a slap with Josh Donaldson. Judge walked up and down the dugout to receive congratulations, then came out of the dugout and briefly handed his helmet to the fans.
“I did some jokes with Matt Carpenter earlier in the year. I think he had two home runs in a game or something and he got a curtain call,” Judge said. “Man, I’ve been here six years and I’ve only had one call. So I guess it takes you 60 to get another one.
Rizzo doubled, Torres walked and Donaldson singled to load the bases. Stanton, caught up in a 9-for-72 slump, sent half a dozen rows of substitutions to the seats in left field, finishing off a series of 19 pitches that will be repeated for a long time, kicking off a raucous feast between what’s left. is from the crowd of 40,157.
Roger Maris Jr. and Kevin Maris, sons of the former player, were both present.
“He hit 60 last night and it’s like nothing happened. He has more work to do,” said Stanton, who turned 59 for Miami five years ago.
Crowe’s great-granduncle, Hall of Famer Red Ruffing, was Ruth’s teammate with the Yankees in the 1930s. Crowe visited Ruffing’s plaque in Monument Park at Yankee Stadium before the game.
“He did what he had to do with it,” Crowe said, “count 3-1, I’m not going to put it on it. I felt like I wanted to go after him. Started out, came back in. He put a good swing on a bad pitch.”
Aroldis Chapman (3-3) threw a 1-2-3 ninth.
Bryan Reynolds made it 4-4 with a homerun in the seventh inning off Lou Trivino and had a leading single off Jonathan Loáisiga in the eighth for his fourth basehit.
Rodolfo Castro – the player who was suspended from a Major League Baseball game last month after a cell phone flew out of his pocket during a headfirst slide – followed with a three-run home run against Clay Holmes.
Holmes, an All-Star who slumped in the second half, first pitched against his former team.
Harrison Bader had a pair of leading basehits and scored three runs in his debut for the Yankees. First baseman Anthony Rizzo committed a key error that led to the four-run eighth inning for the already eliminated Pirates.
Reynolds also committed a three base error on a dropped fly in the middle, one of two errors by a team leading the Major Leagues with 108.
Nestor Cortes stopped his leg twice in a double hesitation by Reynolds in the third inning, but gave up a single in the middle.
Former Yankees 3B Charlie Hayes, who caught the 1996 World Series final, threw a ceremonial first pitch to his son, Pirates 3B Ke’Bryan Hayes.
Pittsburgh promoted six players to Triple-A Indianapolis after the end of the season at Double-A Altoona: RHP’s Quinn Priester and Colin Selby, 2B-C-OF Endy Rodriguez, INF Aaron Shackelford, 3B Malcom Nunez, OR Matt Gorski. “Now we have 10 days of at bats to get to,” said manager Derek Shelton. “Losing 2020 was so important to organizations like ours. The more reps we can get them, the better it is.”
Yankees: RHP Frankie Montas received a second cortisone shot in his ailing right shoulder and went on the 15-day IL, retroactive to Saturday. … LHP Zack Britton (Tommy John Surgery) threw a one-hit inning for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in his eighth rehab outing. RHP Miguel Castro (shoulder strained) threw a hitless inning for the RailRiders.
New York RHP Luis Severino (5-3, 3.45) starts Wednesday after recovering from a lat strain that has sidelined him since July 13. RHP Roansy Contreras (5-4, 3.24) pitches for the Pirates.