The lead wouldn’t last long; the Royals put up five runs in the fifth. It was still 5-3 Royals heading to the bottom of the eighth inning. The Yankees would put up an eight-spot. The exclamation point was a grand slam for Judge:
What Judge is doing with the bat this season has been so special that his stellar plays with the glove sometimes get overlooked. In the first inning, Kansas City leadoff batter MJ Melendez stroked a 98 mph fastball that was destined to land 2 feet beyond the wall in right field before the 6-foot-7 Judge went up and brought it back.
Let’s zero in on Judge’s personal accolades here, though. He now has 41 home runs and we haven’t turned the calendar to August. He’s actually going to have another two games to add to this, but here are the only players in baseball history to get to 40 home runs before August.
Though not impossible, it’s pretty unlikely Judge gets to the record, but this is still rarified air. Bonds would end up with 73 homers, McGwire 70. In both Sosa entries on the above list, he topped 60 homers, and there is, of course, the Maris 61-homer season on there. This means of the previous 11 times a player reached 40 homers before August, five times the player got to 60 home runs (Babe Ruth’s 60-homer season was 1927). We can throw an asterisk on Williams, too, since the season ended less than two weeks later due to a strike — meaning we’re at essentially half the previous entries getting to 60.