New York Yankees' Aaron Judge becomes first player to 40 home runs, then smashes grand slam for N...

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Saturday, July 30, 2022

NEW YORK -- Aaron Judge became the first big leaguer with 40 homers this season, smashed a grand slam for No. 41 and robbed a home run in right field as the New York Yankees rallied to beat the Kansas City Royals 11-5 on Friday night.

A free agent at the end of the season, Judge is on pace for 66 home runs, which would top Roger Maris' club record of 61 in 1961. Judge, Maris and Babe Ruth in 1928 are the only Yankees with at least 40 homers by the end of July.

"He's amazing," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. "He's just doing some really special things.''

Judge was lavished with "MVP!'' chants throughout the night, none louder than after his slam in the eighth cemented yet another Yankees rally. He also had a single and finished with six RBIs, giving him a major league-leading 89.

He has eight homers and 19 RBIs in nine games since the All-Star break, but claims he feels no different at the plate.

"Just like any other time,'' he said.

Judge recorded his ninth multi-homer game to set the Yankees' single-season record, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. He was tied going into the game with Gleyber Torres (2019), Álex Rodríguez (2007), Mickey Mantle (1961) and Babe Ruth (1927) for the most by a Yankee in a single season.

"Just takes the magic wand and does his thing,'' Yankees ace Gerrit Cole said.

Judge began the game by reaching over the right-field fence to rob MJ Melendez of a homer, then hit a 449-foot, two-run shot in the third inning. It was his second homer in three at-bats after he hit a game-ending drive in the ninth inning of a 1-0 win against Kansas City on Thursday night.

"Hitting a homer is still above robbing one for me right now, but it's still fun,'' Judge said.

Philadelphia's Kyle Schwarber came into the night second in the majors with 32 homers. Judge hit a career-high 52 homers while winning AL Rookie of the Year in 2017.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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