SEATTLE — The Yankees did to the Dodgers and their highly regarded pitching what they’ve done to most of the pitchers they’ve faced this season and this month in particular:
Hit the ball out of the ballpark. A lot.
The Yankees hit three homers Sunday night in their 5-1 victory over the Dodgers, giving them 61 in August to set an MLB record for most homers ever hit in a month by a club. The previous record of 58 was held by Baltimore (May of 1987) and Seattle (May of 1999).
And the Yankees still have, counting Monday night, five more games this month.
The next-most in the big leagues this month, entering Monday night, was the 45 home runs hit by the Astros and Blue Jays.
“Bronx Bombers, I don’t know what else to say,” Aaron Judge said with a smile of the record.
Judge, of course, did his part against the Dodgers, hitting a homer in each of the three games in which the Yankees totaled nine in the series.
The Yankees became just the second visiting team to ever hit nine home runs off the Dodgers in a series of three games or fewer at Dodger Stadium, which opened in 1962, joining the 1973 Pirates, who hit 10 in a three-game series May 7-9 that year.
“We’ve got a great lineup,” Judge continued. “Like I said, I've never been on a team before that, one through nine, they can hurt you — even the guys off the bench.”
Judge mentioned Mike Ford as an example. The rookie came in Sunday and took over in the three-hole for Didi Gregorius, who left the game two innings after being hit by a pitch on the back of his right shoulder in the first inning. Ford hit one of the three homers the Yankees got off Clayton Kershaw.
“You saw today with Mike Ford, comes in off the bench, first at-bat, hits a homer off one of the best lefthanded pitchers in the game ever,” Judge said. “That doesn't happen too often. So it just speaks volumes to what type of team we have. I didn't know we broke another record; that's pretty amazing.”
Aaron Boone said he wasn’t aware of the record, either, and all but shrugged when told about it.
“We hit homers,” Boone said. “I mean, we’ve got good hitters, good power hitters up and down the lineup, a lot of guys capable. And so we're going to have those kind of marks, I guess, fall every now and then.”
The Yankees, who hit multiple homers in 17 of their last 24 games entering Monday, came into the night with 241 home runs this season, trailing only the Twins, who had hit 253. The 241 is tied for the fifth-highest total in Yankees history, behind the MLB-record 267 they hit last year, the 245 hit by the 2012 Yankees, the 244 tallied in 2009 and 242 hit in 2004.
Last season, of course, the Yankees were criticized for relying too much on the long ball and for not coming through enough overall with runners in scoring position. There was some merit to that as the 2018 Yankees hit .253 with 59 homers and a .784 OPS with RISP.
It is not a legitimate critique for this year’s club that, to this point, is hitting .300 with 58 homers and an .896 with RISP.
“We like to score in a lot of different ways,” said DJ LeMahieu, who has hit a career-single-season high 22 homers but is also continues excelling with RISP, hitting .398 (43-for-108), which ranks him third in the Majors in that category. “But when we have as many good players as we do, hit the ball as hard as we do, records are going to happen like that.”