SEATTLE -- Sometimes, Aaron Judge's talents defy official measurement.Judge's colossal home run in the Yankees' 5-1 win over the Mariners at Safeco Field on Friday night was just a row or two from leaving the stadium entirely, something that hasn't been done since the ballpark opened in 1999. It was
SEATTLE -- Sometimes, Aaron Judge's talents defy official measurement.
Judge's colossal home run in the Yankees' 5-1 win over the Mariners at Safeco Field on Friday night was just a row or two from leaving the stadium entirely, something that hasn't been done since the ballpark opened in 1999. It was crushed so high it went off the grid, above and beyond official measurements.
It was the kind of shot that you have to see to believe. The kind of home run that it almost doesn't matter how far it went. For what it's worth, the Mariners estimated the distance at 440 feet, based on its similarity to a June 3 homer by Seattle catcher Mike Zunino.
"We were wondering if it was going to go out of the stadium," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "[Yankees hitting coach] Alan Cockrell, who worked [in Seattle from 2008-10], said that's the farthest ball he's seen hit here and in BP. And it came in a great time from him."
The three-run blast against right-hander Andrew Moore gave Judge a Major League-leading 31 home runs on the season, breaking a tie with the Marlins' Giancarlo Stanton. It was his first extra-base hit since the All-Star break, though he was robbed of a homer by Jackie Bradley Jr. in Boston on Sunday night.
"I watched a lot of video on [Moore], so I had a pretty good idea of what he was trying to do and what his game plan was," Judge said. "I just was able to capitalize on a pitch he left up in the zone."
The win pulled New York into a virtual tie with Tampa Bay for the first American League Wild Card. Seattle fell 3 1/2 games back in a race that seems to be heating up by the day.
As for the homer, it not only helped the Yankees to a win, it also left Judge's teammates gawking.
"It's not fair," said reliever Player Page for David Robertson, recently traded to New York from the White Sox. "It's like he's playing in a little kid's park. I've never seen a ball hit like that. His BP is unfair. I don't know what to say. I just hope he just continues doing what he's doing, because it's impressive to watch."
Judge didn't make much of his prodigious moment when asked about it after the game. He said he didn't even see where it landed when he was circling the bases; Carsten Sabathia had to show Judge where it landed when he returned to the dugout.
"He was pointing it out," Judge said. "Trying to help me figure out where he landed."
As impressive as the distance was, the unusual nature of Judge's home run -- based on his season -- was equally remarkable. Moore's offering was a curveball up and in, a zone Judge hadn't yet exploited for a home run this season. It was also only Judge's second home run on a curveball this season, per Statcast™.
"I think every time it's a different reaction," fellow rookie Clint Frazier said. "You'd think people would get bored seeing him hit a ball that far, but he surprises everybody when he goes out there and hits the ball out there where no one else can."
Judge, who also had a sacrifice fly to deep center in the third inning, now has 72 RBIs, two behind the American League leader, Seattle's Nelson Cruz.
Josh Horton is a reporter for MLB.com based in Seattle. He covered the Yankees on Friday.