First up, a two-run shot in the bottom of the third inning to give the Yankees a 3-0 lead.
The lead wouldn't last long; the Royals put up five runs in the fifth. It was still 5-3 Royals heading to the bottom of the eighth inning. The Yankees would put up an eight-spot. The exclamation point was a grand slam for Judge:
What Judge is doing with the bat this season has been so special that his stellar plays with the glove sometimes get overlooked. In the first inning, Kansas City leadoff batter MJ Melendez stroked a 98 mph fastball that was destined to land 2 feet beyond the wall in right field before the 6-foot-7 Judge went up and brought it back.
The Yankees won to move to 68-33 on the season, good for the best record in the AL.
Let's zero in on Judge's personal accolades here, though. He now has 41 home runs and we haven't turned the calendar to August. He's actually going to have another two games to add to this, but here are the only players in baseball history to get to 40 home runs before August.
- Barry Bonds, 45, 2001
- Mark McGwire, 45, 1998
- Sammy Sosa, 42, 1998
- Aaron Judge, 41, 2022
- Luis Gonzalez, 41, 2001
- Ken Griffey Jr., 41, 1998
- Jimmie Foxx, 41, 1932
- Babe Ruth, 41, 1928
- Sammy Sosa, 40, 1999
- Matt Williams, 40, 1994
- Reggie Jackson, 40, 1969
- Roger Maris, 40, 1961
Though not impossible, it's pretty unlikely Judge gets to the record, but this is still rarified air. Bonds would end up with 73 homers, McGwire 70. In both Sosa entries on the above list, he topped 60 homers, and there is, of course, the Maris 61-homer season on there. This means of the previous 11 times a player reached 40 homers before August, five times the player got to 60 home runs (Babe Ruth's 60-homer season was 1927). We can throw an asterisk on Williams, too, since the season ended less than two weeks later due to a strike -- meaning we're at essentially half the previous entries getting to 60.
, he's maintaining a pace that keeps the discussion relevant.
Further, this is Judge's ninth multi-HR game of the season. That's a Yankees record, believe it or not. Babe Ruth (1927 this time), Mickey Mantle (1961), A-Rod (2007) and Gleyber Torres (2019) were previously tied for the record at eight.
Judge's career high in home runs is 52, which he did as a rookie in 2017. He hit 39 last year in 148 games, so he's already surpassed that mark in 98. He leads the majors in home runs, RBI and runs scored.