NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Aaron Judge has broken Mark McGwire’s major league record for home runs by a rookie, going deep twice on Monday to raise his total to 50.
The Yankees slugger hit a two-run homer off Kansas City’s Jakob Junis on Monday, a drive to right-center in the third inning that gave New York a 3-0 lead.
He added a solo shot over the visitors’ bullpen in left in the seventh inning against Trevor Cahill.
Judge has 13 home runs in September and six in five games. He hit two home runs for the second straight day and has four multi-homer games this month.
McGwire hit 49 homers for Oakland in 1987, breaking the previous mark of 38 set by the Boston Braves’ Wally Berger in 1930 and matched by Cincinnati’s Frank Robinson in 1956.
Judge is second in the major leagues behind Miami’s Giancarlo Stanton, who has hit 57.
Greg Bird added a two-run homer into the right field second deck in the sixth, his seventh home run this season and fourth in nine games. Gary Sanchez followed Judge in the seventh with back-to-back homers for the third time this year, raising his total to 33.
CC Sabathia (13-5) took a 6-0 lead into the seventh, when Salvador Perez hit a two-run homer and Mike Moustakas chased him by going deep four pitches later. Mixing sharp cutters and sliders, Sabathia improved to 9-0 in 11 starts this year after Yankees’ losses and 21-11 in his career against Kansas City. He allowed six hits in six-plus innings.
New York, which began the day five games behind AL East-leading Boston, needs one win or a Minnesota loss to clinch home field in the AL wild-card game on Oct. 3. Didi Gregorius had an RBI groundout in the first and scored on Matt Holliday’s double in the sixth.
Kansas City, starting perhaps its final week with potential free agents Eric Hosmer, Alcides Escobar, Lorenzo Cain and Moustakas, was pushed to the brink of postseason elimination. The Royals headed home from an 11-game, four-city trip trailing the Twins for the second AL wild card by six games with six games left. Kansas City went 37-44 on the road, three more wins than last year.
Junis gave up six runs and seven hits in 5 2/3 innings. He had been 6-0 in eight starts and two relief appearance since a June 29 loss at Detroit.
Kansas City returned to New York for a makeup of a May 25 rainout, and the ballpark was half-full on a warm autumn afternoon with the temperature in the mid-80s.
Yankees leadoff hitter Brett Gardner scored three times and has 94 runs, three shy of his career high. Manager Joe Girardi challenged him during spring training to reach 100.
Yankees: OF Aaron Hicks (oblique) was to start playing in instructional league games at New York’s minor league complex.
Royals: LHP Jason Vargas (17-10) starts Tuesday’s homestand opener against Detroit and RHP Jordan Zimmermann (8-13).
Yankees: RHP Luis Severino (13-6) or Jordan Montgomery (8-7) will start Tuesday’s series opener against Tampa Bay, which goes with LHP Blake Snell (4-6).
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)