Aaron Judge is only two games into his major-league career, but the 24-year-old has nudged his way into the record books on consecutive days.
After he and Tyler Austin not only became the first teammates to hit home runs in their first major-league plate appearances in the same game (they went back-to-back, too) on Saturday, Judge swatted a solo shot in the Yankees’ 12-3 loss to Tampa Bay on Sunday. He became the second Yankee to homer in each of his first two major-league games, joining Joe Lefebvre (May 22-23, 1980).
“It’s pretty crazy,” said Judge, who went 1-for-3 with a walk on Sunday. “I’m just trying to go out there and do the job. I’m just trying to get on base for the team and get on base for the guys behind me, and it’s all kind of working out.”
Judge’s second homer came in the third inning on a 3-and-2 fastball from Jake Odorizzi. It traveled an estimated 362 feet and landed just over the Lays advertisement in right-center.
“Just a fastball kind of ran in,” Judge said. “I was trying to get a good pitch to hit and just got the barrel on it.”
Joe Girardi has noticed the excitement that Judge generates in the stands when he steps to the plate and, especially, when he hits the ball in the air. But Girardi laughed as he tempered expectations.
“I don’t think you can expect a homer every day,” he said. “I think that would be a record.”
But the 6-7, 275-pound Judge’s power is well-documented. He belted 19 home runs in 93 games with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre before his promotion, and in his last five minor-league games, Judge homered three times.
“Coming into game one,” he said, “I was comfortable.”
Though Sunday’s loss dropped the Yankees (60-57) to 4 ½ games behind Boston (64-52) for the American League’s second wild card, their fans are hoping the infusion of young talent — highlighted by Judge, Austin and Gary Sanchez, who also homered Sunday — can spark a push for the playoffs.
“I’m excited for them to finally get an opportunity up here, not just to do well and start their major-league career but to help us out at a time when we need to win ballgames,” Brett Gardner said. “I think it’s a lot of fun for them, too.”