The Yankees’ powerful duo of Gary Sanchez and Aaron Judge is continuing to rewrite the record books on a nightly basis, contributing three big swings to the club’s 8-3 victory over the Twins on Tuesday evening at Yankee Stadium.
Belting a solo homer to right field in the second inning and depositing a two-run shot to the netting that covers Monument Park in the seventh, Sanchez became the first player in Major League history to record nine multihomer games in his first 196 career games.
He then laughed after receiving the silent treatment in the dugout from Judge, who had gone deep earlier in the seventh inning, remaining ahead of Mark McGwire’s historic pace as the fastest player to reach 63 home runs for his career.
Judge’s solo shot off the Twins’ Tyler Duffey, an opposite-field blast to right field, was his seventh of the season in his 204th career game. McGwire hit 63 homers in his first 207 games for the 1986-88 Athletics; Judge was also the fastest to 60, 61 and 62 homers.
It was the fourth homer of the homestand for Judge, who recorded his second three-hit game of the season and has reached base safely in all 19 games this month, owning the longest on-base streak in the American League this year.
“We’re getting there. It’s still early,” Judge said. “We’ve got to stick to our approach and keep having good at-bats, grinding out the starters, especially facing a guy like [Jose] Berrios, who has some of the best stuff in the game. If you’re able to keep getting those 3-2 counts, fight off those tough pitches and get his pitch count up, then try to get into that bullpen, we’re going to be in good position.”
Sanchez hit his fourth and fifth homers of the season, taking a 94.1-mph heater from Berrios deep in the second inning and pummeling Duffey’s high 91.7-mph fastball in the seventh.
“When he uses the big part of the field, he’s a guy that can drive the ball out anywhere in the ballpark,” manager Aaron Boone said. “I think we’ve seen him off and on get more bat through the middle. I thought he was, for the most part, really quiet at the plate tonight. He’s special when he’s controlling the strike zone. That’s his biggest challenge sometimes.”
Sanchez’s 58 homers tie him with McGwire for the third most by a player through 196 games, trailing only Judge and Rudy York of the 1930s Tigers, who had 59. Sanchez has also hit safely in nine of 10 games, batting .341 over that span.
“When he’s using the whole field and really driving balls to center field and using the right-field gap, that’s when he’s at his best,” Judge said. “That’s what we saw tonight. He was on tonight. We’ve just got to keep it rolling.”
Didi Gregorius also went deep on Tuesday, giving the Yankees back-to-back games with four homers, a feat last accomplished on June 10-11 of last season, against the Orioles. New York has outscored opponents, 36-6, during the four-game winning streak, moving a season-high four games above .500.
“In general, it’s just the approach we have,” Sanchez said. “Every time we go out there, we try to give the best that we have. With the lineup we have, it’s a very good lineup. When things are working well, you’ll notice.”