When Tim Mayza made a throwing error, Aaron Judge made sure the Blue Jays left-hander ended up on the wrong side of history.
Judge tied Roger Maris’ American League record of 61 home runs in a season with a tie-breaking two-run shot in the seventh inning that lifted the New York Yankees to an 8-3 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays. Wednesday night.
Mayza said he was trying to attack Judge with sinkers in hopes of inducing a ground ball, but missed instead.
“Too many good pitches over the plate to a very good hitter,” Mayza said.
The 30-year-old slugger drove a belt-high 94.5 mph sinker on a complete count by Mayza (8-1) over the left-field fence at Rogers Center. The 117.4-mph drive took just 3.8 seconds to land 394 feet from home plate, putting the Yankees up 5-3.
“When I hit him, I thought I had enough, but it’s been a couple of games since I’ve done it,” Judge said.
Judge saw the ball bounce off the front of the stands, just below two fans who reached over a railing and tried to catch it. He waved an arm just before he got to first and exchanged a slap in the face with coach Travis Chapman.
The ball landed in the Toronto bullpen and was picked up by Blue Jays bullpen coach Matt Buschmann, who handed it to the Yankees.
Judge’s mother and Roger Maris Jr. stood up and hugged each other from the front row seats. He appeared to point them out after rounding second base, then was congratulated by the entire Yankees team, who hugged him after crossing home plate.
“As soon as he hit it, I was like, ‘Okay, that’s gone,'” Maris Jr. said. “So it was just a matter of enjoying him running the bases and giving his mom a big hug and just enjoying the moment.”
Judge topped Babe Ruth’s 60 home runs in 1927, which had stood as the major league record until Maris broke it in 1961. All three stars hit those huge numbers while playing for the Yankees.
Barry Bonds holds the major league record of 73 for the San Francisco Giants in 2001.
Judge had gone seven games without a home run; his longest drought this season was nine in mid-August. This was the Yankees’ 155th game of the season, leaving them seven more in the regular season.
The home run came in Judge’s fourth plate appearance of the night, ending a streak of 34 plate appearances without a home run.
Judge is hitting .313 with 130 RBIs, also the best totals in the American League. He has a chance to become the first American League Triple Crown winner since Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera in 2012.
The Yankees (96-59), who clinched their 20th AL East title the night before, won for the ninth time in 10 games.
Toronto (87-69) held on to the top spot in the wild-card race despite its second straight loss. The Blue Jays are 1 1/2 games ahead of Tampa Bay and two games ahead of Seattle.
Gerit Cole (13-7) allowed three runs on three hits in 6 1/3 innings. Cole was perfect in five before Danny Jansen homered leading off the sixth. Cole struck out four, matching the Yankees season record of 248 set by Ron Guidry in 1978.
“I think it’s more special because of what Aaron did tonight,” Cole said.
New York scored three in the first off Mitch White, but Toronto tied it on a three-run sixth that included an RBI single by Bo Bichette and a sacrifice fly by Vladimir Guerrero.