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Judge hits 47th, 48th HRs, 1 shy of rookie mark

MLB.com @BryanHoch

TORONTO -- Aaron Judge homered twice in Sunday afternoon's 9-5 loss to the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre, notching his American League-leading 47th and 48th home runs to close within one blast of Mark McGwire's 1987 record for the most home runs hit by a Major League rookie.

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TORONTO -- Aaron Judge homered twice in Sunday afternoon's 9-5 loss to the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre, notching his American League-leading 47th and 48th home runs to close within one blast of Mark McGwire's 1987 record for the most home runs hit by a Major League rookie.

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In the sixth multihomer game of Judge's brief career, the Yankees slugger launched a solo blast to left field off Blue Jays starter Marcus Stroman in the sixth inning, then crushed a two-run blast to left field off Ryan Tepera in the seventh inning that brought the Yanks within four runs.

"I was just swinging at the right pitches," Judge said. "That's the biggest thing, getting into good counts and swinging at the right pitches. Good things will happen."

Video: NYY@TOR: Judge on his two homers vs. the Blue Jays

According to Statcast™, the first homer left Judge's bat at 113.1 mph and traveled 378 feet, with a launch angle of 21 degrees. It was Judge's 24th homer with an exit velocity of at least 110 mph this season.

Video: NYY@TOR: Judge mashes his 47th homer of the season

The second blast came off Judge's bat at 98.9 mph, with a launch angle of 30 degrees, and traveled 391 feet. Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that it would be a special treat to see Judge equal or pass McGwire's mark.

Video: NYY@TOR: Judge crushes 48th homer, second of the day

"It'd be another nice little honor to have in his cap," Girardi said. "The one thing I don't want him to do is get away from what he's doing and try to hit home runs and get off track. He doesn't need to try to hit home runs. He just needs to hit the ball and square it up, and they're home runs. Just stay consistent like you've been."

Judge has homered in four of his past six games, and Sunday marked the 19th consecutive game in which Judge has reached base. McGwire hit 49 homers for the Athletics in 1987 and was named the AL Rookie of the Year Award winner.

"Regardless of what happens from here, it's been a tremendous season for him," infielder Chase Headley said. "A historical season, obviously. If he's able to get the record, it would be fun to be part of that. It's phenomenal to watch every day. It couldn't happen to a better guy."

With the Yankees fighting for postseason position, Judge said that he hasn't focused much on his pursuit of McGwire.

"Hopefully we win that day that it happens. That'd be the main concern," Judge said. "I haven't really thought about it, to be honest. We're trying to do something special right now."

Judge has hit nine of his 48 homers against Toronto this season, joining Manny Ramirez (2001) and Chris Davis ('12) as the only players to hit that many off Jays pitching in a single season.

As he was reminded, Judge actually could have tied McGwire on Sunday; in an April 16 game against the Cardinals at Yankee Stadium, what appeared to be Judge's fourth homer of the year was instead ruled a fan-interference triple after a video review.

Video: STL@NYY: Judge rips RBI triple to right, call stands

"I forgot about that," said Judge, who was also robbed of homers by outfielders Jackie Bradley Jr. and Melky Cabrera this season.

Headley said that though the Yankees had high hopes for Judge this season, he has exceeded all expectations.

"I thought that the impression that he made last year, even when he wasn't swinging well, the way that he handled himself and carried himself, I thought that was a good sign," Headley said. "You knew there was a whole lot of ability, but I don't think that anybody in Spring Training at least could have predicted this."

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

New York Yankees, Aaron Judge