Aaron Judge #99 of the Yankees celebrates his first inning two...

Aaron Judge #99 of the Yankees celebrates his first inning two run home run against the Oakland Athletics with teammate Juan Soto #22 at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday, April 24, 2024. Credit: Jim McIsaac

Aaron Judge might be OK after all.

The 2022 American League MVP’s slow start to 2024 caused all kinds of over-the-top reactions, none of which took into consideration just how minuscule a sample size three weeks is when applied to the six-month marathon of a Major League Baseball season.

During Judge’s struggles, manager Aaron Boone talked about how “close” the outfielder was to breaking out and evidence abounded in Wednesday night’s 7-3 victory over the A’s in front of 31,179 at the Stadium.

The offense, which produced 11 hits, also got home runs from Juan Soto (his sixth) and Anthony Rizzo (his third), as well as an RBI triple from Anthony Volpe.

Wednesday marked the first time this season Judge and Soto homered in the same game.

“Warm and fuzzy inside,” Boone said with a smile of his feelings watching the two sluggers both go deep. “On a cool night when the wind’s blowing and I’m cold out there, a little warm and fuzzy. Kind of like some hot chocolate on a cold day. It was great. I don’t think it’s going to be the last time those two homer together.”

Judge, who came into the night hitting .180 with a .663 OPS but who went 1-for-3 in Tuesday night’s victory and reached base twice, homered in his first at-bat Wednesday to give the Yankees (17-8) and Clarke Schmidt an early 2-0 lead. Judge hit the ball sharply all five times up, finishing 2-for-5.

“It’s not back yet,” Judge said of his swing. “Always a work in progress. But I’m just happy to add two there in the first and then the boys took care of the rest. Great swings from everybody all night.”

Soto, who walked before Judge’s homer in the first, went 1-for-3 with a sacrifice fly, bumping his batting average to .319 and his OPS to .995.

“It’s a whole lot of fun to watch for sure,” rookie catcher Austin Wells said of the Judge-Soto show.

Schmidt (2-0, 3.55) was solid. Though, as has been the case during much of his development as a starter, the righthander couldn’t quite make it long enough for it to be a great outing.

After cruising through the first five innings, Schmidt failed to make it out of the sixth, pulled after allowing a three-run homer to Brent Rooker that made it 5-3.

Schmidt allowed those three runs, four hits and two walks over 5  1⁄3 innings in which he struck out six.

“Overall, a really good night,” Schmidt said. “Obviously, [getting knocked out in the sixth] leaves a sour taste in your mouth but that’s baseball. Just continue to get back to work, [and] it’s a big win.”

Righthander Luke Weaver was terrific in relief of Schmidt, striking out four over 2  2⁄3 scoreless innings.

Schmidt retired the first two batters he faced in the first before allowing a double to JJ Bleday. He walked Rooker on five pitches but struck out Seth Brown swinging at a curveball to end the inning.

The next time Schmidt took the mound he had the lead, courtesy of Judge.

After Volpe struck out, dropping the leadoff man into a 4-for-33 skid, Soto walked for a team-leading 20th time.

With Judge at the plate, A’s righthander Joe Boyle was called for a balk, the fourth balk to that point of the series called by the umpiring crew.

Judge, who thought he had struck out before being told the balk had been called, then took a 1-and-2, 97-mph fastball over the fence in right, his fourth homer making it 2-0.

The blast marked the 261st home run of Judge’s career, sending him past Derek Jeter, the club’s previous captain before Judge, for ninth place on the club’s all-time list.

“I haven’t really thought about it to be honest,” Judge said. “It’s special. Derek had an amazing career here, did so many great things for this organization. I’m hoping I can do the same.”

Notes and quotes: After the game, Boone said further evaluation and testing done on DJ LeMahieu, pulled from his rehab start Tuesday night with Double-A Somerset after just one at-bat because of discomfort in his right foot, showed additional swelling in the foot.

Boone said the 35-year-old LeMahieu would be shut down for the next seven days, at which point he will be evaluated again to see if he can resume baseball activities.

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