NEW YORK -- The confident conversation took place in the clubhouse hours before first pitch, with nine names speculated to be attached to a piece of history on Tuesday evening. Everyone wanted to slug the home run that gave the Yankees full custody of a Major League record.
"We were all kind of talking about it before the game, who's going to do it," Judge said. "Hicksy was like, 'It'll happen in the third inning when I get up there.' I was like, 'I don't think it's going to last that long. It might happen in the first, with DJ and me going up there.' DJ stole the show. I'm happy for him. No better person I'd want breaking that record."
Judge followed LeMahieu's laser down the left-field line with a deep drive to right-center field, making for a quick start against Clayton Richard. The Bombers broke a previous mark held by Texas Rangers, who rode Alex Rodriguez and Rafael Palmeiro's bats to homer in 27 straight contests from Aug. 11 to Sept. 9, 2002.
"We've got so many good guys in this lineup," LeMahieu said. "For me, there's no pressure. If you don't come through, the next guy will. It's just a fun lineup to be a part of. One through nine, there's no easy outs throughout the lineup, that's for sure. You get to know the lineup, it's pretty scary."
A total of 14 Yankees have combined to hit 51 home runs during the streak, including multiple homers in 14 of the 28 games. Judge joined the fun late -- the slugger’s homer was his first hit of any type in 11 at-bats since he returned from the injured list on Friday.
Since May 26, when the streak began in an 8-7 loss at Kansas City, Gary Sanchez has paced the club with eight homers. LeMahieu is second with seven and Torres has slugged six.
"I've heard players comment on it," manager Aaron Boone said. "They're very aware of it. It's impressive to me. It's a tribute to having a lot of good hitters and hitters that can hit for power. I think now we're seeing as we get more whole, they kind of protect each other."
The previous franchise record was held by Joe DiMaggio's 1941 Yankees, who homered in 25 consecutive games from June 1-29 of that season.
"Any record you break always means something special," Judge said. "It means for the most part you're doing something good. When you've got guys that are great hitters, selective and they make a good pitch, they don't miss it and good things happen."
New York improved to 7-0 in games when using an opener, and six of those wins have come with Chad Green handling the first inning.
Working in back-to-back games for the first time this year, Green hurled a scoreless first inning before yielding to Nestor Cortes Jr., who logged the victory by permitting two runs on four hits over 4 1/3 innings with no walks and five strikeouts.
"We've got a sign right before you go out to the field that says, 'Do your job,'" Judge said. "That's what everybody is doing. It's fun to be a part of because it makes it fun coming to work here. The man next to you is going to go out and bust his butt. It's something special."
Encarnacion's late drive to the right-field seats off Tim Mayza appeared at the time to be a tack-on run, but it provided crucial insurance for closer Aroldis Chapman, who pitched around Randal Grichuk's RBI single in the ninth to record his 23rd save.
A relative newcomer to the Yanks' power show, Encarnacion has been around the league long enough to know a good thing when he sees it. That is exactly how the American League's leading home run hitter feels about grabbing a small slice of a somewhat obscure but meaningful record.
"I feel happy because I'm part of that," Encarnacion said. "It's a great group of guys, a great group of players. Anybody from leadoff to the No. 9 hitter can do damage. Every day it's somebody different. That makes us a good team."