Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

MLB News

Judge hitting HR landmarks 'one brick at a time'

Staying ahead of McGwire's pace, Yanks slugger is fastest to reach 62 career homers; goes deep on 3-0 pitch for first time
MLB.com @BryanHoch

NEW YORK -- Brick by brick, Aaron Judge is continuing to add to an impressive list of career accomplishments.

Issued the green light on a 3-0 count on Saturday afternoon, Judge crushed a two-run homer off of Marcus Stroman, producing the first two runs of the Yankees' 9-1 victory over the Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium. He scored on a catching error in New York's seven-run sixth inning, then capped the frame with an RBI single.

View Full Game Coverage

NEW YORK -- Brick by brick, Aaron Judge is continuing to add to an impressive list of career accomplishments.

Issued the green light on a 3-0 count on Saturday afternoon, Judge crushed a two-run homer off of Marcus Stroman, producing the first two runs of the Yankees' 9-1 victory over the Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium. He scored on a catching error in New York's seven-run sixth inning, then capped the frame with an RBI single.

View Full Game Coverage

"It's just about little by little, getting better every single day," Judge said. "You're not going to try to make big strides every single day. It's like laying a brick down when you're building a house. You lay one brick down at a time and just try to be consistent, and try to do that every day."

Judge joked that he sometimes does not look down the third-base line to see if the take sign has been issued, though in this case, manager Aaron Boone had him swinging away.

Video: TOR@NYY: Judge extends rally with RBI single to left

Given carte blanche to hack, Judge teed off on Stroman's 92.6-mph fastball, connecting for his sixth homer of the year and his fourth career shot off Stroman. It came off of Judge's bat at 116.1 mph, making it the ninth-hardest-hit homer of his career.

Projected by Statcast™ to have traveled 443 feet to left field, the homer was the first of Judge's career on a 3-0 count, the only count he had not yet homered on. He had been 1-for-3 with an RBI in those situations.

"I always want to hit 3-0, especially against a guy like Stroman," Judge said. "You're not going to get too many good pitches to hit, and he's going to command his pitches well in the zone. He's got some nasty stuff, some of the best stuff in the league. On 3-0, if he's going to give me one that's somewhat over the plate, I've got to take a chance at it."

After three weeks of watching Judge from the Yankees dugout, Boone said that Judge is a better player than he had imagined.

Video: TOR@NYY: Judge safe at home on Maile's missed catch

"I knew 52 home runs, Rookie of the Year, a guy that gets on more than 40 percent of the time," Boone said. "I understand he's an elite-level hitter when you look at those numbers, but I'm so impressed with how well he knows himself and how he develops a game plan going into the game.

"I think he's very in tune with the mechanics of his swing, which I'm sure is more of a challenge for a guy that size. He's clearly, to me, one of the best players in the league."

Video: Watch all of Judge's record-breaking 62 homers

The shot also marked Judge's 62nd career home run in 201 games played, keeping ahead of Mark McGwire's 1986-88 pace for the fastest to reach the number. Judge was also the fastest to 60 and 61 home runs. McGwire hit his 62nd homer in his 205th career game.

"I was just excited to get two runs on the board against a tough pitcher like Stroman," Judge said. "A guy like that, you can't take any pitches off. He could go eight no-hit [innings] every single time he pitches. You've got to stay ready even if it's 0-0, 1-0, 3-0. You've just got to be ready to attack and don't miss the pitch. He might give you one to hit, and you just can't miss it."

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.

New York Yankees, Aaron Judge