Judge clears fence 3 times: 2 homers, 1 robbery

May 30th, 2023

SEATTLE -- had already rounded the bases twice as he patrolled right field in the eighth inning on Monday night, a strong showing that would fit nicely into the reigning American League Most Valuable Player’s growing collection of above-average nights.

As he tracked a deep fly ball, the evening was about to become unforgettable.

Judge collected his AL-leading 16th and 17th home runs, then timed a jump perfectly to rob the Mariners’ Teoscar Hernández with a sensational grab over the top of the right-field wall, highlighting one of the Yankees’ best all-around performances of the year in their 10-4 victory at T-Mobile Park.

“I’ve seen a lot of good catches; I don’t know if that was the greatest catch ever,” Judge said. “I think that if it was a closer game, or if that ends a game, it might be. I’m just trying to make a play. When you’re 6-foot-7, I’d better be able to get up there.”

Judge cracked a 116.9 mph two-run homer off the left-field foul pole in the third inning and added a solo drive in the sixth inning. He also doubled and scored three runs to pace the Bombers’ 18-hit attack -- their most knocks in a game this season.

It was the 31st multi-homer game of Judge’s career, which ranks fifth in franchise history – four behind for fourth place.

“It’s one of the great individual games you’ll see,” manager Aaron Boone said. “Two homers, take one back, double, walk. What a day. I mean, what do you say?”

How about this? According to STATS, Judge is the first Major Leaguer to hit multiple homers and rob a homer in the same game since he did it against the Royals on July 29 last year. He's the only player in the previous 30 years to have two such games in his career.

“I’m just out there trying to do my job, trying to make plays for my team,” Judge said. “Especially when you’re hitting in the top of the lineup, you’re trying to be a spark. You’ve got to be able to put some runs up, so we’ll just treat it like another game.”

Yeah, good luck with that. About 10 minutes after the final out, once Judge had made a brief speech to his teammates in claiming the celebratory championship belt, Boone reclined behind his desk in the visiting manager’s office and curiously eyed a television in the far corner.

There, flanked by a collection of old-school LeRoy Neiman prints and a postgame spread menu (filet mignon, halibut and southwestern chicken), Boone watched replays of Judge’s catch for the first time. He shook his head, still amazed all these years later by what his best talent can do on a diamond.

“He’s just such a special player,” Boone said. “He can just do things that no one else can. It’s fun to watch him do it every day.”

Judge’s leaping catch came with reliever on the mound. Immediately after the grab, Abreu raised both arms triumphantly.

“Off the bat, I thought it was probably gone,” Judge said. “I’ve seen Teoscar hit a lot of balls over my head in right field before. I took a second glance before the wall and knew I had an opportunity. I just didn’t want to miss it.”

Boone said that he believes Judge may be underrated defensively and could eventually win a Gold Glove Award, one of the few individual honors left on his to-do list.

“I take pride in my defense,” Judge said. “From throwing to bases to trying to make plays at the wall, cutting balls off. People can say what they want, but I’m still going to go out there and do what I do.”

also homered and drove in a pair of runs, while and picked up two RBIs apiece in helping pelt rookie right-hander Bryce Miller for eight runs in 4 2/3 innings.

Miller came into Monday’s start having held opponents to 13 hits through his first 31 1/3 big league innings. The Yankees knocked him for 11 hits.

Speaking about Judge, Miller said: “That’s the guy in the lineup that you have to make all your pitches on, and he'll make you pay if you don't."

The cushion helped support in his return from a 10-game suspension for violation of the league’s policy on foreign substances. The righty limited Seattle to four runs over 6 1/3 innings, including a Julio Rodríguez homer. He was in the trainers’ room at the time of Judge’s catch, where the walls shook.

“It was so exciting to see,” Germán said through an interpreter. “All of us stopped what we were doing at the time and started jumping around. It was a perfect night for him.”