New York Yankees slugger and AL MVP frontrunner Aaron Judge took two steps closer to home run history Tuesday night. Judge swatted his 56th and 57th homers of the year in New York's win over the rival Boston Red Sox (NYY 7, BOS 6 in 10 innings). Judge is now four behind Roger Maris' American League single-season record of 61 homers set in 1961.
Both home runs Tuesday night were important. The first, a sixth-inning solo shot against Nick Pivetta, tied the game at 3-3, and the second, an eighth-inning solo blast against Garrett Whitlock, tied the game at 4-4. Judge had a chance to hit a third homer, but was intentionally walked with first base open in the tenth inning.
Here are Judge's 56th and 57th home runs of the season:
Prior to Tuesday night, Judge had gone five consecutive games with a home run, the seventh time this season he'd gone at least five straight games without a homer. As has been the case since he hit No. 53 earlier this month, every home run from here on out is a new career high for Judge.
Tuesday was Judge's tenth multi-homer game of the season. Shohei Ohtani is a distant second with six multi-homer games, and Judge is the first player with double-digit multi-homer games in a single season since Giancarlo Stanton had 10 in 2017, the year he slugged 59 home runs en route to NL MVP honors with the Miami Marlins.
Only 52 players have hit 20 home runs this season, and Judge now has 20 homers more than any other player in the league. The gap between No. 1 and No. 2 (Kyle Schwarber) on the home run leaderboard is the same as the gap between No. 2 and No. 60. It has been almost a century since a player has paced the league in home runs like Judge is this year.
Aaron Judge (57 HR) now has 20 more homers than anyone else in MLB (Kyle Schwarber, 37).— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) September 14, 2022
It's the first time a player will finish a calendar day with a 20+ HR lead since the last day of the 1928 season when Babe Ruth led Jim Bottomley and Hack Wilson by 23 homers. @EliasSports pic.twitter.com/ByaoiWDjdw
Judge is three homers away from becoming the sixth player in history to hit 60 home runs in a season, joining Barry Bonds (73 in 2001), Mark McGwire (70 in 1998 and 65 in 1999), Sammy Sosa (66 in 1998, 64 in 2001, and 63 in 1999), Maris (61 in 1961), and Babe Ruth (60 in 1927).
Maris' 61 homers in 1961 is also the Yankees' franchise record, though Judge owns the franchise's single-season record for right-handed batters. The previous record was 54 by Alex Rodriguez in 2007. Only Jimmie Foxx (58 in 1932) and Hank Greenberg (58 in 1938) have hit more homers as right-handed batters in AL history than Judge.
Following Tuesday's two-homer effort, Judge owns a .310/.414/.692 batting line to go along with his 57 homers and MLB-leading 123 RBI. He has climbed into fourth place in the batting race and is challenging for the Triple Crown in addition to the AL's single-season home run record.
As a reminder, Judge rejected a $213.5 million contract extension in spring training and will become a free agent after the season. The case can be made he is having the greatest walk year ever.
The Yankees played their 142nd game of the season Tuesday, giving Judge another 20 games to chase Maris' record. New York has a six-game lead in the AL East with an 86-56 record following Tuesday's win.