Judge widens MLB HR lead with two blasts

NEW YORK — The cool-down period after a tough defeat is not usually the time to celebrate what went right in the previous nine innings, though in boiling down a loss that he described as “peculiar,” Gerrit Cole couldn’t help but crack a broad grin when describing Aaron Judge’s recent power surge.

Judge extended his Major League long ball lead to 17, clearing the fences in the first and fifth innings of the Yankees’ 6-4 loss to the Orioles on Monday. Far from taking his service for granted, the Bombers are enjoying their front-row seats as Judge continues his assault upon big league pitching.  

“Sometimes I feel like he’s salivating for something, gets it, and drills it,” Cole said. “And sometimes I feel like he’s just being a good baseball player, staying up the middle, and drills it the same way. Not all the things are going his way; he’s not looking for slug all the time. He’s just putting better swings than guys are throwing. He’s just — better.”

Judge cracked a solo home run in the first inning and a two-run blast in the fifth, both off Baltimore starter Jordan Lyles, as he punishes opponents at an MVP-level pace. Judge’s 17th homer gave him five more than any other big leaguer, with the Astros’ Yordan Alvarez and the Angels’ Mike Trout each with 12.

“I’m just trying to do my job, just like everybody else in this building,”…

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