Judge hits No. 55, then Yanks walk off Twins

September 8th, 2022

NEW YORK -- Aaron Judge cracked his Major League-leading 55th homer, Gleyber Torres also went deep and Oswaldo Cabrera’s 12th-inning walk-off single powered the Yankees past the Twins, 5-4, on Wednesday afternoon in the first game of a doubleheader at Yankee Stadium.

Isiah Kiner-Falefa opened the 12th with a game-tying RBI single off Trevor Megill. Cabrera slashed an RBI single later in the frame to snap an 0-for-25 skid and seal the Yankees’ 82nd win of the season, clinching their 30th consecutive winning season (since 1993) and the club’s Major League-leading 14th walk-off win of the year.

“We love his poise and his makeup. He’s not afraid,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said of Cabrera, who also contributed his fifth outfield assist in the victory.

The rally was sparked after New York was turned aside in the 11th, with Ronald Guzmán hitting into a bases-loaded double play and Marwin Gonzalez grounding out. Gilberto Celestino’s run-scoring single off Ron Marinaccio put Minnesota on top in the 12th, with Greg Weissert recording the last two outs of that inning.

Cabrera was the first Yankees rookie to notch a walk-off hit since Mike Ford on Sept. 1, 2019, vs. Oakland. Torres hit a game-tying two-run homer in the sixth after Judge surpassed Alex Rodriguez (54 in 2007) to claim a new Yankees record for single-season home runs by a right-handed batter.

Judge cleared the left-field fence facing Twins rookie Louie Varland in the fourth inning, ripping a changeup for a solo shot that trimmed the Yanks’ deficit to 3-1. The 374-foot blast came off Judge’s bat at 102.1 mph, according to Statcast.

“I was happy to get a run on the board,” Judge said after the Yankees swept the doubleheader with a 7-1 win in Game 2. “That's all I can really say. The rookie was making his debut and kind of had us shut down there for a little bit. He had a good quick pace, working all of his pitches. It kind of got some stuff going, got this offense going a little bit."

It marked the second time in Judge’s career that he has homered in four straight games. Judge went deep in five straight from July 29-Aug. 2, 2020. The slugger is on pace to hit 65 home runs this season, which would break Roger Maris' American League record.

Most HR in a season, MLB history -- with totals through 136 team games:

2001 Barry Bonds: 73 -- 57
1998 Mark McGwire: 70 -- 54
1998 Sammy Sosa: 66 -- 53
2022 Aaron Judge: 65 (current pace) -- 55
1999 Mark McGwire: 65 -- 54
2001 Sammy Sosa: 64 -- 53
1999 Sammy Sosa: 63 -- 58
1961 Roger Maris: 61 -- 53
1927 Babe Ruth: 60 -- 49

The only Yankees to hit more homers in a single season than Judge’s 55 are Maris (61 in 1961) and Babe Ruth (60 in 1927 and 59 in '21). Rodriguez (2007), Mickey Mantle (1961) and Ruth (1920, ’28) had each hit 54 in a single season.

Judge is just the third Major Leaguer to hit 55 homers through his team’s first 136 games of a season. The others are Sammy Sosa (58 in 1999) and Barry Bonds (57 in 2001).

Yankees rookie Oswald Peraza collected the first three hits of his Major League career, beginning with a third-inning double off Varland. Coincidentally, it was also the first hit permitted by Varland, who was making his Major League debut.

“He did a nice job,” Boone said of Peraza. “He equips himself well. A few hits was good to see -- get his first one out of the way with a ringing double down the line. I think he handles himself well.”