Wednesday newsletter time: Aaron Judge gets his homer, Rangers get the win
(AP photo/LM Otero)
ARLINGTON — The drama was over in a flash, as Aaron Judge started the second game of a late-season doubleheader Tuesday with a home run.
It was his 62nd of the season, one more than the previous American League record set 61 years ago by Roger Maris.
Judge, as he displayed during his postgame interview, is a class act. Good for him, and good for the fan, Cory Youmans, who caught the ball in the front row of Section 31.
And good for the Rangers, who haven’t pitched around Judge the entire series against the Yankees. Jesus Tinoco gave up the historic blast, but he wasn’t pitching around Judge.
Tinoco just happened to hang a slider that Judge caught just enough of to get it into the left-field seats.
“It’s part of the game,” Tinoco said. “I challenged him, and he hit a home run.”
Judge even lauded Tinoco for having a nasty sinker and slider. It was going to be a tough matchup, said Judge, an MVP candidate against an MLB rookie.
For the Rangers, the lead story is they won the game 3-2. Leody Taveras, who had a mental blunder on the bases to end Game 1, hit a two-run homer off Gerrit Cole, Kolby Allard allowed one run in four innings and Taylor Hearn tossed three no-hit innings. Matt Moore picked up th save with a 1-2-3 ninth.
The Rangers snapped a seven-game losing streak. They can end the season on a two-game winning streak with a victory today in the season finale.
The crowds didn’t disappoint the past two days when it comes to Judge’s at-bats. By the end of Game 1 on Tuesday folks were starting to get a little hostile.
The best non-homer sequence came in the ninth inning of Game 1, when there were two outs and Kyle Higashioka was up as the No. 9 hitter. He needed to reach to ensure that Judge would get one more chance at No. 62. Fans cheered each ball Jonathan Hernandez threw, and went wild when Higashioka walked.
There was moaning and some booing when Judge grounded the first pitch to shortstop. Yankees manager Aaron Boone didn’t think the booing was directed at Judge, but at the disappointment from not seeing history.
“I don’t think it’s anything more than that,” Boone said.
When he singled in eighth, fans didn’t know what to do. The players have noticed the buildup and reactions.
“It’s been great energy each one of his at-bats,” right-hander Jon Gray said. “It’s really cool to be a part of, too.”
Gray allowed three runs in six innings of his final start of his first season with the Rangers. He said that he had no intentions of pitching around Judge, who went 0 for 3 against Gray.
He wasn’t afraid of giving up No. 62.
“I wanted him to get his opportunities,” Gray said. “I wanted to go after him and give him some pitches some to hit, but at the same time compete. Not putting it over the plate, but if it’s over the dish it’s going to be good.”
The fans at Game 2 responded appropriately to the Judge homer, cheering and appreciating the moment. He was saluted on his way to right field in the bottom of the first.
And a bid kudos to the Rangers for recognizing the moment with a graphic on the videoboard showing the updated all-time AL homer single-season rankings: Judge, Maris, Babe Ruth (60).
Milestone for Garcia
Don’t ever tell a baseball player that a 100-RBI season isn’t a big deal, especially if they are as muscular at Adolis Garcia.
Garcia reached his goal of 100 RBIs in Game 1 on a two-run homer in the fifth inning. No one had to do the math for him. He’d been sitting on 98 since Friday.
“I was antsy about getting those two RBIs,” Garcia said. “I’d been waiting for a while.”
Garcia has 27 home runs, four fewer than last season, but he’s been a slightly better hitter with slightly more walks and slightly fewer strikeouts. His .757 OPS is 16 points higher than last season.
He remains a Gold Glove-caliber right fielder and became the first Rangers player since Ian Kinsler to have a season of 25 homers and 25 steals (Kinsler went 30-30). Marcus Semien did it in Game 2 with his 25th steal.
The 100 RBIs were the main goal.
“I was proud of him to get that done this year,” interim manager Tony Beasley said. “That was one of his personal goals, and when that’s one of your goal it helps the team.”
Garcia added another in Game 2.
Time to put the 2022 Rangers season to bed. Enjoy. See you Thursday.
If this doesn’t make you happy, I don’t know what will. Does anyone else’s dog wear PJs and bring his blanket to bed at night. #Vancouver #dogsoftwitter #happy #germanshorthairedpointer pic.twitter.com/eFPgHilnJA
— James Docherty (@james_vancity) January 29, 2020
Jeff Wilson, firstname.lastname@example.org