April 20, 2017 / 3:06 AM / 8 months ago

Judge, Tanaka help deliver Yankees' 9-1 win

Judge, Tanaka help deliver Yankees’ 9-1 win

NEW YORK -- When Yankee Stadium is empty, Aaron Judge is making jaws drop by hitting mammoth home runs off advertisements and over sports bars in batting practice.

Once the pitches are for real, Judge is wowing anyone watching with his prodigious home runs even if he exercises modesty in discussing them.

Judge hit another mammoth home run Wednesday night when he clubbed a 448-foot blast with two outs in the fifth inning as the New York Yankees concluded their first homestand with a 9-1 rout of the Chicago White Sox.

“It was pretty impressive,” New York manager Joe Girardi said. “We’ve seen him do it a lot in BP (batting practice). I question the distance they measured it at. It seems like he regularly hits balls on top of the (restaurant in) center field. He’s swinging the bat great.”

Judge hit four home runs as the Yankees won eight of nine games and each left its own impression on teammates. A week ago, he became the first player to hit two runs off the restaurant beyond the center-field wall but Wednesday the right fielder might have outdone himself.

“I honestly don’t look at it too much,” Judge said of the distance.

With the Yankees already leading 7-1, Judge got ahold of a 2-0 curveball from Dylan Covey (0-1). He hit a high-arching shot and when the ball landed a few seconds later, it was in the upper rows of the left-field bleachers near the flagpole.

“It’s unbelievable,” New York second baseman Starlin Castro said. “I never seen anything like that.”

The shot was actually measured a few feet lower than the one Matt Holliday hit Monday and was the third-longest home run in Yankee Stadium since the start of the last season.

“I think we’re all impressed,” Girardi said. “You don’t see balls go up there every day. It’s maybe the furthest one I’ve seen here to left-center.”

More importantly for the Yankees is it continued the trend of Judge making contact instead of frequently striking out, which he has been known for along with his power.

“I‘m swinging at the right pitches now. That’s the biggest thing,” said Judge, who is hitting .277 and only has 15 strikeouts in his first 47 at-bats. “If you swing at the right ones, you make more contact and you strike out less.”

Judge became the first Yankee under the age of 25 to hit five home runs in the Yankees’ first 15 games since Derek Jeter in 1999. His power display also helped the Yankees (10-5) get off to their best start since 2004.

Besides Judge’s latest blast, the Yankees hit three other home runs, giving them 22 in their best 15-game start since 2010. Chase Headley slugged a two-run shot in the first inning, Castro preceded Judge’s fifth home run with a three-run drive and pinch hitter Aaron Hicks led off the eighth with his fifth home run.

Those were more than enough for Masahiro Tanaka (2-1). Tanaka turned in a second straight effective start by allowing one run and six hits in seven innings.

Jose Abreu broke an 0-for-19 skid with three hits, including an RBI double in the fourth. Chicago went 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position and concluded a 5-4 road trip.

Covey allowed eight runs and 10 hits in five innings. It was the most earned runs allowed by a Chicago starter since Anthony Ranaudo allowed nine in 4 2/3 innings Sept. 4.

”I kind of left it over the middle of the plate but it was the first pitch, I mean trying to get a strikeout basically,“ Covey said of the pitch to Judge. ”He kind of got ahold of it.

NOTES: Chicago LHP Jose Quintana spent Tuesday taping a segment for NBC’s “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.” During the roughly 90-second segment, Quintana taught Fallon a few Spanish phrases. “It was fun,” said Quintana, who learned English by watching the show. “It was a great time.” Chicago manager Rick Renteria also saw the segment and said: “It was pretty interesting. Pretty funny.” ... New York C Gary Sanchez (strained right biceps) made throws for the first time since getting injured April 8. Manager Joe Girardi said Sanchez did not experience any discomfort. ... Chicago 3B Todd Frazier missed his fourth straight game recovering from the stomach flu. Renteria said Frazier is feeling better and was available. ... An official scoring change gave Chicago 1B Jose Abreu an error on a ground ball that originally was scored an infield hit by New York CF Jacoby Ellsbury in Monday’s game.

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