Aaron Judge 2nd fastest to 200 HRs, Yankees beat Royals
NEW YORK (AP) — Aaron Judge became the second-fastest player in major league history to reach 200 career home runs, and the New York Yankees beat the Kansas City Royals 8-2 on Saturday.
DJ LeMahieu homered and had an RBI single, and Matt Carpenter homered for the 15th time in 40 games for New York, which won its third straight after dropping a pair of games to the New York Mets.
The American League-leading Yankees have won seven straight against the Royals and 10 of the last 11.
Whit Merrifield had a third-inning double for his 1,000th career hit and Salvador Perez had a sacrifice fly for the Royals, who have lost five straight.
Judge, who became the first player in the majors this season to reach 40 homers Friday, fouled off two breaking balls from starter Jonathan Heasley before sending a 2-2 fastball into the right-center field seats for a two-run drive in the second inning. It was one of his two hits, and he also walked twice.
The 6-foot-7 slugger’s 200th homer came in his 671st career game, behind just Philadelphia’s Ryan Howard, who achieved the feat in 2009 in 658 games.
Judge has 42 homers this season and is on pace for 67. He is tied with Sammy Sosa and two behind Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire for the most before Aug. 1 in MLB history. Bonds holds the season record with 73 homers in 2001.
A free agent at the end of the season, Judge has nine homers and 21 RBIs with a .447 batting average in 10 games since the All-Star break. After hitting just one homer in his first 13 games, Judge has connected for 36 over his last 79 games and is on pace to surpass Roger Maris’ club record of 61, set in 1961.
Yankees All-Star Nestor Cortes (9-3) allowed two runs in five innings. He struck out five and walked two. He has a 2.60 ERA over five July starts.
Heasley (1-6), who was reinstated from the injured list prior to the game after missing 17 games with right shoulder tendonitis, allowed six runs over 3 1/3 innings in his first start since July 9.
The Yankees took advantage of back-to-back Kansas City errors in the fourth to break the game open. Rookie Maikel Garcia dropped Isiah Kiner-Falefa’s pop up and Merrifield whiffed on Nicky Lopez’s throw on Jose Trevino’s grounder to allow Kiner-Falefa to reach third. LeMahieu singled to center to chase Heasley, and Andrew Benintendi delivered a sacrifice fly against reliever Wyatt Mills.
Aroldis Chapman and Clarke Schmidt scattered two hits over the final four innings. Schmidt worked the final three for his second career save.
Garcia singled in the fourth to drive in Kansas City’s second run for his first career RBI.
Royals: RHP Zack Greinke, originally scheduled to pitch Saturday, was given an extra day of rest and will now pitch Sunday. ... SS Bobby Witt Jr. returned to the lineup after missing five games with right hamstring soreness. ... RHP Jackson Kowar was optioned to Triple-A Omaha to make room for Heasley. ... Perez (thumb) started behind the plate for the first time since June 21, after undergoing surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left thumb.
Yankees: OF Giancarlo Stanton (left Achilles tendonitis) has yet to resume baseball activities. ... 1B Anthony Rizzo (rest) was given the day off.
Greinke (3-6, 3.44 ERA) takes to the mound for Kansas City in the series finale. A potential trade candidate, Greinke is winless in six career starts (seven appearances) at Yankee Stadium, holding an 0-3 record with a 9.22 ERA. He’ll be opposed by LHP Jordan Montgomery (3-3, 3.50 ERA).
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