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Aaron Judge stays humble at precipice of rookie HR record

Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees celebrates

Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees celebrates his 2nd home run of the game in the seventh inning during MLB game action against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre on Sept. 24, 2017. Credit: Getty Images / Vaughn Ridley

TORONTO — Aaron Judge hit two more home runs Sunday, bringing him within one of the rookie record of 49 by Mark Mc Gwire set in 1987. With seven games remaining, Judge, who has been red-hot for nearly the entire month, seems assured of at least tying the mark.

Judge was unimpressed — as he has been most of the season — and expressed only one desire regarding any potential home run record. “Hopefully we win that day it happens,” he said. “That would be the main concern. But I really haven’t thought about it, to be honest. We’re trying to do something special right now.”

Judge has rebounded from a long slump that began in mid-July. He went 2-for-4 with the two homers, three RBIs and a walk in the Yankees’ 9-5 loss Sunday, and in his last 13 games, he has nine home runs, 18 RBIs, 13 walks and a .366/.491/1.098 slash line. He has three two-homer games in that span.

“Regardless of what happens from here, it’s been a tremendous season for him, a historical season,” Chase Headley said. “Obviously, it would be neat for him to get the record, but it’s been phenomenal to watch him every day. And it couldn’t happen to a better guy.”

Back on track?

Struggling Dellin Betances struck out a batter and hit a batter in a scoreless eighth.

“I thought he had a decent inning,” manager Joe Girardi said. “He overthrew the one curveball where he hit [Justin] Smoak, but he threw strikes and I think that’s important.”

Girardi said Betances’ role in the postseason is to be determined. “I don’t know yet,” he said. “We still have another week to go. This guy’s been as dominant as any reliever the last three or four years, so we’re trying to get him back on track, and then you see.”

Appreciation from afar

Blue Jays rightfielder Jose Bautista, a pending free agent who likely played at Rogers Centre for the final time, was cheered throughout the series. He was removed with one out in the top of the ninth inning Sunday and was showered with a loud ovation from the sellout crowd as he left the field.

“I know there’s people that sometimes have some issues with [him],” Girardi said, “but I told him I respect the way he plays. He plays hard every day. You can count on him every day.”

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