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Aaron Judge leads big Yankee comeback vs. Royals

Jul 29, 2022; Bronx, New York, USA;  New York Yankees left fielder Andrew Benintendi (18) dives back to first base on a pick off attempt in the second inning against the Kansas City Royals at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Aaron Judge became the first player this season to reach 40 homers and then capped an eight-run eighth inning with a grand slam as the New York Yankees rallied for an 11-5 victory over the visiting Kansas City Royals on Friday night.

Judge reached 40 homers by hitting a 449-foot two-run shot to left field in the third. The slugger then slammed his fourth career grand slam when he hit a first-pitch changeup to the short porch in right field.

Judge’s drive against Jackson Kowar gave the Yankees an 11-5 lead and marked his major league-leading ninth multi-homer game this season.

Judge set a team record for multi-homer games in a season, breaking the previous mark held by Gleyber Torres (2019), Alex Rodriguez (2007), Mickey Mantle (1961) and Babe Ruth (1927).

Before Judge’s second homer in the eighth inning, the Yankees tied the game on an infield single by newcomer Andrew Benintendi and a bases-loaded walk by Aaron Hicks off Scott Barlow (4-4). New York took a 6-5 lead when Isiah Kiner-Falefa extended his hitting streak to 15 games with a single to left and Jose Trevino made it 7-5 on an RBI groundout.

New York’s 29th comeback win occurred after Kansas City rookie shortstop Maikel Garcia booted a potential double play grounder by Josh Donaldson.

Before pulling off their latest comeback, the Yankees took a 3-0 lead on a solo homer by Anthony Rizzo in the first inning and a two-run drive in the third by Judge, whose game-ending homer off Barlow gave New York a 1-0 win Thursday.

Judge joined Roger Maris (1961) and Babe Ruth (1928) as the third Yankee to reach 40 homers by the end of July, according to MLB.com.

The Royals rallied for five runs off Gerrit Cole in the fifth.

Whit Merrifield ended a Kansas City scoreless drought of 31 2/3 innings with a two-run single and Salvador Perez hit a three-run homer in his first game back from a thumb injury to give the Royals a 5-3 lead.

Bubic allowed three runs on four hits in six innings. The left-hander struck out six and walked two.

Cole allowed five runs on seven hits in six innings. He fanned nine.

Albert Abreu (2-0) earned the victory by pitching a scoreless eighth following a short rain delay.

–Field Level Media