Aaron Judge the Great

September 20, 2017, Bronx, N.Y.; Yankees 11, Minnesota 3 — The Yankees stormed back from being down 3-0 in the third inning against Minnesota Wednesday afternoon, eventually winning 11-3 going away. With a six-game cushion against the Twins in the Wild Card race, things never appeared desperate, but the three spot the visitors fashioned against Yankee ace Luis Severino through a 45-pitch top of the third did have many in the Bronx feeling a little edgy. The Yankee Youth movement to the rescue, however, and Greg Bird, Aaron Judge, and Gary Sanchez (double, home run, home run) quickly restored order; the team cruised (and continued to threaten) the rest of the way.

That Minnesota got to Severino was largely a credit to this day’s DH, veteran Joe Mauer, who has not looked good this series, but who put a 13-pitch at bat on the hard-throwing righty before finally singling through the first-base hole to plate the game’s first run. The rally started innocently — a one-out Kennys Vargas swinging bunt toward a vacated third base in a shifted infield — but then a sharp single by catcher Jason Castro and a walk set Mauer up, and he drove the young Yankee ace to distraction, responding well enough to survive vs 100-mph heat, and continuously capable of fouling off the flood of changeups and the occasional slider. Sevy’s change wasn’t sharp, and even though Yankee bats quickly pummeled ageless Bartolo Colon and the visiting pen, Joe Girardi was wise to get Luis out of the game.

He would have gotten [an easy] win. Yankee bats turned on Colon after he had silenced them on two hits through two. The three-run extra-base-hit barrage in the third was doubled in the more nuanced fourth, where Jacoby Ellsbury’s speed and a second Bird double keyed a three-run outburst that became six once Didi Gregorius — eclipsing the Yankee shortstop season record of predecessor Derek Jeter — closed the fourth with yet another shot to the second deck in right, his 25th, 9-3 Yankees.

A two-run fifth followed, and it was over. Chasen Shreve carried the action through the sixth, but whether it was due to the sharpnesss of his offerings or the listless Minnesota attack, I can’t say. He retired nine of 10, with a strike out an inning and, following a Ben Heller four-batter seventh, Domingo German delivered four punch outs over two frames to get us on our way home after a 6-1 homestand, 8-2 if you count the three-gamer at CitiField vs the “home” Rays.

The numbers are easy to read, and to misread. Brett Gardner joined Sanchez and Ellsbury in stroking three hits; by virtue of his tater, Didi matched Judge with three rbi’s. Ellsbury and Bird each scored twice. The Yanks “owned ‘em.” There were many Yankee players who had a great game this day, and who have contributed to an unexpectedly positive year in the Bronx in 2017. And Aaron Judge is just one of them. The rotation, with Sevy, CC and Montgomery, has soared; catchers Sanchez and Romine are as solid a duo as there is in the league. Didi and Brett Gardner have led the infield and outfield to new heights.

On this day in 357 B.C., 2,374 years ago, Alexander III, better known as “the Great,” who would conquer much of the known world at the time, was born in Macedonia. On a day Yankee fans were treated to the re-energized Bronx Bombers, a young and carefree group that promises to deliver many good years going forward, the prize of the day, and of the year, goes to right fielder Aaron Judge. He has lifted this team this year, just as he did this afternoon when he strode to the plate with his team down 3-0 in the third inning. Homer No. 45, and RBI No. 100, got ‘em going. All hail,

Aaron Judge the Great