The day began with standouts from the past gathering at Monument Park, but as always, the real star on Saturday afternoon was Aaron Judge, who propelled the Yankees to their third straight win over the terrifying Royals, 8-2, at The Bronx .
It was another day for the slugger, who continued his record-setting pace with his MLB-high 42nd homer of the season – and the 200th of his career.
Only Philadelphia’s Ryan Howard achieved the 200-homer milestone faster in 658 games, compared to Judge’s 671.
Homer Saturday, the judge’s ninth in nine games, was a two-run laser in the right field of right-hander Jonathan Hesley, who, like the rest of the Royals, appeared unmatched.
Nestor Cortes, not with his quickness, restricted the Royals to two runs in five innings.
It all happened after a tremendous Old-Timers’ Day at the stadium, which lacked a game, as well as Mariano Rivera and other Yankees greats.
Heasley was caught in the bottom of the first as the Yankees (69-33) reached the base of the first four batters – and two of them scored.
DJ Lemhieu scored his 10th home run of the season with Homer going right-center.
Judge, who entered his last eight matches with eight homers, singled from the left and went to Andrew Benintendi.
Gleber Torres sent a speedy double over right-center to score the judge and sent Benintendi into third before Josh Donaldson was dismissed first.
Matt Carpenter went on to load the bases for Aaron Hicks, a notoriously bad hitter with bases filled, though he went in the same position in Friday night’s Yankees win.
This time, Hicks was back in form and took the field in a double play at the end of an innings on a pitch of 3-2 and kept it a game of two runs.
Cortes got out of the jam in another. After running a leadoff for Hunter Dossier and a single in the middle by Vinnie Pasquetino, Michael A. Taylor’s fly ball moved Dozier to third on the right.
With runners on the corners, MJ Melendez hit a slow chopper to Cortés, who got Dossier in a rundown between third and home and threw him out.
Cortes followed up with a strikeout from Machel Garcia to end the threat.
After the judge’s home run in the second made it 4–0, Cortés started the third with a single to Nikki Lopez and a double to What Merrifield.
He hit Bobby Witt Jr., but was crushed by Salvador Pérez left-center, where Hicks hung on long enough to catch him on the warning track for the sacrificial fly.
Cortes then dismissed Dossier by swinging it.
He was not as lucky in the fourth – the third straight innings of a lefty that had several baserunners.
Taylor scored a single and Melendez walked on. A base hit by Garcia pushed Taylor to 4-2.
But López followed with a hard grounder first, and Lemahieu began a fine 3-6-3 double play.
The Yankees added two more runs in the fourth, thanks to a more brutal play by the Royals.
At first, Garcia tried, without hesitation, to grab an Isiah Kinner-Falefa popup and let it go. Kansas City appeared to be on course when Jose Trevino moved to third for an easy double play, but Merrifield dropped the throw from Lopez.
LeMahieu delivered an RBI single and after the judge had run, a Benintendi sacrificial fly made it 6-2.
The Yankees scored again in the sixth on another Kansas City miscue. Kinner-Falefa steals second and Perez throws the ball to left field, allowing Kinner-Falefa to come home.
Carpenter’s 15th homer of the year – and second since July 17 – gave the Yankees an 8-2 lead in the seventh.
Clarke Schmidt bounced three innings to end the game and saved his second.