Judge (2 HRs), Stanton (120 mph HR) lead NY's power surge

June 12th, 2022

NEW YORK -- As Aaron Judge completed his second trip around the bases on Saturday evening, stamping his foot on home plate after another of the Yankees’ season-high six home runs, loud chants of ‘M-V-P!’ could be heard ringing throughout the Yankee Stadium grandstand.

Judge said he considered it “just noise,” but who would argue with the sentiment? Judge cleared the fences twice, extending his Major League lead to 24 home runs, and Giancarlo Stanton reached the second deck with a 119.8 mph missile as the Yankees romped to an 8-0 thrashing of the Cubs.

“I’m a sucker for a good rally -- doubles in the gaps, runners in scoring position,” Judge said. “But six solo shots and one [RBI] single? That’s pretty nice, too.”

All the Yanks’ home runs came off rookie Matt Swarmer, helping New York (43-16) win for the 10th time in 11 games. Judge launched the right-hander’s second pitch over the left-field wall for the second leadoff homer of his career, then he cleared the fences again in the fifth inning.

“Unreal,” Stanton said. “It’s fun to watch. We all have the best seat in the house to it. We all kind of laugh as well after he puts up nights like this.”

The Yankees have hit a Major League-best 94 home runs, including 21 in their last eight games. The runner-up in 2017 American League MVP voting, when he was the AL’s unanimous selection for Rookie of the Year, Judge is on a mission to secure more than hardware in ’22.

Judge’s 24 homers are tied for the third-most in franchise history through the Bombers’ first 59 games, trailing only Babe Ruth (26 in 1928) and Mickey Mantle (25 in '56). Ruth had 24 homers through 59 games in both 1921 and ’30.

“Judgie gets you going right away with the leadoff homer again,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “That was big.”

With Jordan Montgomery pumping the zone over seven scoreless innings, shaving the left-hander’s season ERA to 2.70, Stanton padded the Yanks’ lead with a jaw-dropping solo home run in the fourth, his 13th of the season.

The 119.8 mph drive was the hardest-hit ball in the Majors this season, and the fourth-hardest hit home run ever tracked by Statcast (since 2015). Calculated at 436 feet, Stanton's drive struck an advertising board on the facing of the second deck, bouncing back into the field of play.

“We all just kind of looked at each other, and I’m like, ‘You’re weird,’” Boone said. “That’s all I can say. … Unicorn. He’s weird.”

To Boone’s ‘unicorn’ comment, Stanton said: “It’s all in good fun. I caught how hard it was. It’s still only worth one [run]. It helped us out to the win.”

Stanton claims two of the only harder-hit home runs since Statcast's inception: An Aug. 9, 2018, rocket measured at 121.7 mph and a July 25, 2020, drive clocked at 121.3 mph. Judge hit a 121.1 mph homer on June 10, 2017.

“It’s quite a sight,” Judge said. “You try to soak it all in the moment when he hits one like that. You don’t see that every day.”

Gleyber Torres immediately followed with a home run to the right-field bullpen, and the Yanks had more big swings for Swarmer, who gamely accepted the assignment of soaking up innings after Friday’s 13-inning marathon.

“They just seemed [like] they saw the ball well. I have to do a lot better moving forward,” said Swarmer, who joined Hollis “Sloppy” Thurston of the 1932 Dodgers as the only pitchers to ever permit six solo homers in a game.

Jose Trevino, Judge and Anthony Rizzo all went deep in the fifth off Swarmer; Trevino equaled his 2021 season total with his fifth homer of the year, while Rizzo greeted his former club with his 15th homer.

“I would say we’re very complete,” Stanton said. “Some of the teams in the past, if we didn’t hit homers, sometimes we didn’t come out with wins. We’re finding all different types of ways to beat teams. Give us an extra out and we’re capitalizing on it. We’re being tough on opponents, trying to sweep everybody.”

Isiah Kiner-Falefa notched a run-scoring hit and Judge capped a three-RBI day with a sixth-inning sacrifice fly, already thinking about completing a potential sweep in Sunday’s matinee.

“We’re like, ‘OK, we’ve won the first two. Let’s finish this out,’” Judge said. “We’ve got a lot of guys in here that really haven’t done much of anything. We have Rizzo, Chappy [Aroldis Chapman], a couple of guys with World Series rings -- but this team collectively, we haven’t. So we’re not satisfied just winning the division. I want to go out there and bring the championship back.”