Revived Judge hits 20th homer as Yanks beat Rangers 4-1
By RONALD BLUM
AP Baseball Writer
NEW YORK (AP) - Aaron Judge hit a go-ahead, two-run homer to keep up his power resurgence, Gleyber Torres added his 34th home run and the New York Yankees beat the Texas Rangers 4-1 Wednesday night to move 43 games over .500 for the first time since 2009.
Judge started the season with five homers and 11 RBIs in his first 20 games, then strained his right oblique April 20 while singling against Kansas City and did not return until June 21. He was a shell of himself when he came back, hitting hit .256 with seven homers and 22 RBIs in his first 49 games.
Day after day, Judge said he felt fine and was merely slumping, even though evidence seemed to indicate otherwise. Balls that usually soared over fences were caught on the warning track.
His revival started Aug. 20 with 467-foot home run to left at Oakland off Joakim Soria, Judge's first pulled home run this season. He homered in all three games that weekend at Dodger Stadium and starting with the West Coast trip opener at the Athletics, he is hitting .317 with eight homers and 12 RBIs in 15 games.
Judge set a high standard for himself in 2017, when he was a unanimous pick for AL Rookie of the Year after hitting 52 homers with 115 RBIs. Judge's 2018 season was interrupted when his right wrist was broken by a pitch from the Royals' Jakob Junis on July 26, an injury that sidelined him until Sept. 14 and limited him to 27 homers and 67 RBIs for the season.
Judge lined a fastball from Lance Lynn (14-10) over the right field wall in the third inning following Brett Gardner's walk, the fifth Yankees player to hit 20 homers this season. He struck out in his other three at-bats, stranding five runners, leaving him with a .275 average and 45 RBIs going into the season's final 3 1/2 weeks.
Torres homered in the fourth, tying Gary Sánchez for the team lead and joining Joe DiMaggio as the only Yankees to hit 34 homers at age 22 or younger. The home run was the 200th off the Rangers this season.
New York improved to 92-49, including 11-2 when using Chad Green as an opener.
Green pitched two innings and Luis Cessa (2-1) followed with three. Cory Gearrin allowed a ninth-inning homer to Rougned Odor.
Lynn dropped to 0-4 in his last six starts, allowing three runs in five innings. Texas matched its season-worst of five games under .500 at 68-73 and dropped a season-high 22 1/2 games back of first place in the AL West.
Peeved that plate umpire Will Little kept throwing balls out of play, Lynn yelled to him: "We've got a plane to catch." Little responded he only discarded balls hit in the dirt or off bat handles.
New York has won nine straight series rubber games. The Yankees are 18-0-3 in their last 21 home series.
Yankees manager Aaron Boone has used 136 lineups in 141 games.
Austin Romine had a pair of hits with the runner on first going, including an RBI double.
Rangers: RF Nomar Mazara missed his second straight game due to a sore left oblique. ... OF Hunter Pence (strained lower back), who has not played since Aug. 22, could rejoin the Rangers during the upcoming series in Baltimore but will not be activated. ... OF Joey Gallo (right wrist surgery) took early batting practice and could return mid-month, He last played July 23.
Yankees: OF Giancarlo Stanton will head to the team's minor league complex in Tampa, Florida, this week for batting practice, among the final steps before returning for the final weeks of an injury-wrecked season.
Rangers: LHP Kolby Allard (3-0) opens a four-game series at Baltimore, which starts LHP John Means (10-9).
Yankees: RHP Domingo Germán (17-3), tied for the big league lead in wins, starts Friday's opener of a four-game series at Boston.
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