Aaron Judge belts 3 home runs in Yankees win over D-backs
Sep 22, 2023, 6:41 PM | Updated: 9:43 pm
(Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
Yankees superstar Aaron Judge homered three times and drove in six runs in a 7-1 victory over the Diamondbacks on Friday as Arizona’s woes in New York continued.
The D-backs (81-73) have lost four straight games in New York City, including last week’s series at the Mets.
Christian Walker hit a solo shot in the ninth inning to prevent a shutout on an otherwise quiet night for the offense.
Friday’s loss snapped the Diamondbacks’ five-game winning streak and shrunk their lead in the second NL Wild Card spot to one game over the Chicago Cubs, which beat the Colorado Rockies.
— MLB (@MLB) September 23, 2023
Judge became the first Yankees (77-76) player in its storied history to hit three home runs in multiple games of a single season.
He doubled and homered twice against D-backs starter Brandon Pfaadt, breaking the game open with a two-run shot in the fifth inning that ran the score up to 6-0.
After Pfaadt’s promising first two scoreless innings, an error doomed him. Yankees third baseman Oswald Peraza tapped a ball back to Pfaadt with a runner on first base in the third inning, and Pfaadt flubbed the play.
That set the table for Judge, who blasted a three-run homer to get on the board.
Arizona’s rookie hurler finished with 4.1 innings, five earned runs and eight strikeouts, which tied a career high. He forced 14 whiffs and did not give up much hard contact, but he made mistakes to the player in New York’s lineup he couldn’t afford to make.
Judge’s third homer came against right-hander Slade Cecconi during the seventh inning. All three were blasted to the opposite field, the latter two hit on fastballs over the middle. He has 35 this season despite playing only 100 games.
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) September 23, 2023
“You can’t make mistakes to him,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said.
“He’s the one guy we talked about pregame that you’ve got to pitch very tough and to get ahead of him you’ve got to make pitches and you can’t take anything for granted through the at-bat. You’ve got to finish the at-bat and make quality pitches all the way through and when you don’t, he hits three homers.”
Luke Weaver got the start for New York, his second game against his former club this season.
Weaver tossed 5.1 scoreless innings with four hits allowed and no walks for the win in his first Yankees start.
The D-backs did not get a runner in scoring position until the fifth inning on a throwing error by shortstop Anthony Volpe. They finally threatened to put up a crooked number in the sixth with two runners on and one out, forcing the Yankees to pull Weaver at 78 pitches, but they came up empty.
Weaver has thrown 9.1 innings with three earned runs this year against the D-backs after getting traded by Arizona last season.
Overall, the D-backs’ offense accounted for five hits — four singles — and no walks. Shortstop Geraldo Perdomo had two of the five knocks.
Arizona scored 34 runs during its five-game winning streak at home.
Aaron Judge history
Judge became the sixth player in franchise history with multiple three-homer games.
Lou Gehrig, who also hit four homers in June 1926 at Philadelphia against the A’s, leads the Yankees with four such games. Joe DiMaggio and Alex Rodríguez had three, and Tony Lazzeri and Bobby Murcer had two apiece.
“Greatness doing special things,” New York manager Aaron Boone said. “Those are things that, kind of the crazy things that happen, but it’s just a special player. Not surprising that he’s on that list.”
D-backs upcoming schedule
The Diamondbacks will start veteran Zach Davies (6.81 ERA) on Saturday against Yankees southpaw Carlos Rodon (5.90), weather permitting.
Zac Gallen (3.60) will get the ball on Sunday against righty Clarke Schmidt (4.65).
First pitch on Saturday is at 10:05 a.m. on 98.7, the Arizona Sports app and ArizonaSports.com.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.