In a departure from the usual postgame protocol, the Yankees’ newest addition, starting pitcher Luke Weaver, graciously deferred the spotlight to his teammate Aaron Judge on Friday night. Following Judge’s jaw-dropping three-homer performance, Weaver playfully suggested to reporters, “Don’t you guys want to talk to Judge?” as he nodded towards the smiling slugger who had just etched his name in the franchise’s record books.
Judge’s remarkable display of power fueled a 7-1 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks, providing a temporary lifeline to the struggling Bronx Bombers’ season.
Despite the odds stacked against them in the postseason race, Judge remained optimistic, stating, “We’re not out of it.”
In a last-ditch effort to salvage New York’s season, Judge achieved something unprecedented in the franchise’s 121-season history. His three-homer game marked the first time a Yankees player had accomplished this remarkable feat twice in a single season.
Yankees manager Aaron Boone marveled at Judge’s achievement, remarking, “[That’s] greatness doing special things. You know, those are kind of crazy things that happen, but it’s just a special player. Somebody’s got to have that. It’s not surprising, I don’t think, to anyone in this room, that it’s Aaron Judge.”
Judge had previously hit three home runs on August 23, propelling the Yankees to a 9-1 victory over the Washington Nationals.
Weaver, an eight-year veteran recently acquired by the Yankees, expressed his awe at witnessing this historical night of baseball. He commented, “It’s nice to be on the right side of that,” alluding to Judge’s exceptional performance. Weaver had faced the Yankees earlier in the season while with the Cincinnati Reds and joined the team from Seattle just two weeks ago.
Judge’s first home run of the evening came in the third inning after Oswaldo Cabrera and Oswald Peraza, the younger players at the bottom of the Yankees’ lineup, reached base with singles. With runners on base, Judge capitalized on a first-pitch sinker, sending it soaring over the right-center field bullpen billboard, a mammoth 420-foot shot.
Judge’s second homer, a two-run blast, came two innings later, fortifying the Yankees’ lead to 6-0.
Manager Boone acknowledged the collective effort that set the stage for Judge’s heroics, saying, “Everyone sprinkled in a decent at-bat here and there,” but emphasized that Judge’s performance was the defining moment of the game.
Judge’s third home run, in the seventh inning, sealed the Yankees’ victory as he launched a 383-foot liner into the right field second deck, securing the seventh run for New York. Following this extraordinary feat, Judge received a curtain call from the appreciative crowd.
Boone praised Judge’s impeccable hitting, particularly on a night with unpredictable winds, noting, “Opposite-field, down the line in the second deck; just four great swings.”
In addition to his historic three-homer game, Judge had a perfect 4-for-4 night, including a first-inning base hit that he hustled into a double. This offensive showcase highlighted Judge’s ongoing recovery from a toe injury that had sidelined him for 51 games earlier in the season.
When asked if there was a moment when he sensed the night could be extraordinary, Judge remained focused on the present, saying, “You just focus on the next at-bat. Whatever happened good or bad the first couple at-bats, you just kind of put it aside and focus on what the situation is when you come up.”
Judge’s remarkable performance also tied a single-season record for home runs by major leaguers who missed 50 or more games in that season. His 35 home runs in 2023 matched the 35 hit by Rudy York in 1937, despite York’s limited appearances in just 104 games for the Detroit Tigers.