NEW YORK — Aaron Judge became the first big leaguer with 40 homers this season, smashed a grand slam for No. 41 and robbed a home run in right field as the New York Yankees rallied to beat the Kansas City Royals 11-5 Friday night.
A free agent at the end of the season, Judge is on pace for 66 home runs, which would top Roger Maris’ club record of 61 in 1961. Judge, Maris and Babe Ruth in 1928 are the only Yankees with at least 40 homers by the end of July, per MLB.com.
Judge was lavished with “MVP!” chants throughout the night, none louder than after his slam in the eighth cemented yet another Yankees rally. He also had a single and finished with six RBIs.
Judge began the game by reaching over the right-field fence to rob MJ Melendez of a homer, then hit a 449-foot, two-run shot in the third inning. It was his second homer in three at-bats after he hit a game-ending drive in the ninth inning of a 1-0 win against Kansas City on Thursday night.
Philadelphia’s Kyle Schwarber came into the night second in the majors with 32 homers. Judge hit a career-high 52 homers while winning AL Rookie of the Year in 2017.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.