NEW YORK — We’ll never know for sure how things would have looked if Aaron Judge had taken a slightly different route on a fateful June fly ball, a play that sent the reigning American League MVP to the injured list while changing the course of the Yankees’ season.
It’s a safe bet that Judge and the Yankees would have had a few more special nights like this one to celebrate. Judge slammed three home runs Friday evening against the D-backs at Yankee Stadium, becoming the first player in franchise history to collect a pair of three-homer games in a season.
Judge hit a three-run homer in the third inning and a two-run shot in the fifth off D-backs starter Brandon Pfaadt, then added a solo blast in the seventh off Slade Cecconi. All three of Judge’s homers were opposite-field shots to right or right-center field.
The performance came nearly one month to the day of Judge’s first career three-homer game, on Aug. 23 against the Nationals.
Despite missing two months with a torn ligament in his right big toe — the result of a daring catch on June 3 at Dodger Stadium — Judge has belted 35 home runs in 100 games, nine shy of Shohei Ohtani (44 in 135 games) for the AL lead. Judge hit 62 home runs last year, eclipsing Roger Maris’ 61-year-old AL single-season record.