MLB: Aaron Judge stuck on 61 homers as Yankees win but miss no-hitter
New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge missed another chance at hitting a record-breaking 62nd home run of the Major League Baseball season on Monday but great efforts abounded around him.
Yankees pitcher Luis Severino pitched seven no-hit innings and the batters in the lineup just ahead and after Judge homered in the eighth inning to spark New York’s 3-1 victory at Texas.
Judge has three more regular-season games, two on Tuesday and another on Wednesday, to try and smash his 62nd homer to shatter the American League single-season record set by Roger Maris.
Judge matched the 61-year-old mark of 61 homers set by Yankees legend Maris in 1961 with a Wednesday blast at Toronto, but hasn’t hit the record breaker in four games since.
The 30-year-old American outfielder grounded out, hit into a double play, singled and struck out against the Rangers in the first game of the season-ending series for the playoff-bound Yankees.
Severino faced the minimum 21 batters through seven no-hit innings with seven strikeouts and allowed only a lone walk in the third inning to Josh Smith. In all, 63 of his 94 pitches were for strikes.
But the 28-year-old Dominican right-hander was pulled from the mound by Yankees manager Aaron Boone before the eighth inning, a move made to ensure he would be fit when the playoffs begin after his recent return from the injured list.
Yankees right-hander Miguel Castro, another Dominican, replaced Severino and, after striking out Adolis Garcia, surrendered a single to Josh Jung on a line drive to left field to end the no-hit bid.
Jung had the weakest batting average in the Texas lineup, hitting .195.
There were homers all around leadoff batter Judge even as he failed to connect on a record-setter.
Marwin Gonzalez smashed his sixth homer of the season, a solo blast, to start the eighth inning and give the Yankees a 2-0 lead just before Judge walked to the plate.
Rangers right-hander Jonathan Hernandez then struck out Judge but moments later issued Giancarlo Stanton a pitch the Yankees slugger smacked for his 30th homer of the season to make it 3-0.
The Maris mark had served as the MLB record until beaten several times in the 1990s by Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire during baseball’s notorious steroid era.
Barry Bonds, implicated in the infamous BALCO drug scandal, set MLB’s single-season record of 73 homers in 2001.
Boone has said Judge’s efforts this season rank above those of Sosa, McGwire and Bonds. Judge, however, said the achievements of those National League stars deserve to be recognized as the proper records.