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Aaron Judge hits homer No. 49, Gerrit Cole strikes out 11 as Yankees surge continues with 3-2 win over A’s – Boston Herald

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OAKLAND — Aaron Judge is back on track. The Yankees slugger, who snapped a nine-game homer drought earlier this week, hit his third home run in the last four games Friday night as the Bombers beat the A’s 3-2 at the Coliseum.

It was the fifth straight win for the Yankees (78-48) and sixth in their last 11 games. The Bombers are 7-8 in their last 15 games and 8-12 in their last 20. With the Rays losing to the Red Sox, the Bombers moved 8.5 games ahead of the pack in the American League East. Perhaps more significantly, the Astros lost Friday night, so the Yankees moved to within 2.5 games in the race for the best record in the American League. The A’s (46-81) are one loss away from being eliminated in the AL West.

Judge’s 427-foot shot to dead center field in the fifth, off former Yankee JP Sears, was his major-league-leading 49th homer of the season. The 30-year-old is on pace to break the American League record of 61 homers in a season, set in 1961 by Yankee Roger Maris. Judge is on pace to hit 63. He is just one of three Yankees to have multiple seasons with at least 49 home runs, joining Mickey Mantle and Babe Ruth.

“It’s just another number. Happy to get another win,” Judge said. “Keep this winning streak going and just provide some runs for the great start that [Gerrit] Cole had today and it was pretty impressive to watch.”

Judge’s three-run shot was the third of three hits off Sears in that inning. The lefty, who the Yankees dealt to Oakland to acquire Frankie Montas and Lou Trivino, gave up eight hits, walked four and struck out three over six innings.

Cole allowed one run on three hits. He walked two and struck out 11 over 7.1 innings pitched. The 11 strikeouts were one shy of his season high and gave him 200 on the season, making him the first pitcher to 200 in the majors this season. It was the second straight season Cole has posted at least 200 strikeouts and his fourth 200-K season in the last five seasons and his fifth overall.

Jonah Bride crushed a hanging knuckle curveball for his first major league home run with two outs in the seventh inning, cutting the Yankees lead to 3-1. That was just the second hit Cole allowed. Nick Allen led off the eighth with a single for the last hit off Cole. Wandy Peralta gave up a one-out RBI single to Vimael Machin in the ninth and had the tying run on first when he struck out Bride and struck out pinch hitter David McKinnon.

Rookie Oswaldo Cabrera had a career-high three hits for the second straight game. He had his first big league triple.

Cabrera’s second hit, a single, led off the seventh, followed by a DJ LeMahieu single and capped off by Judge’s bomb.

And it was Judge’s night, back in his native California.

“It’s really special to get to have the best seat in the house every night for the Aaron Judge Show, which is one of a kind right now,” Cole said.

It was Judge’s 207th career home run, moving him past Mark Teixeira for sole possession of 13th in franchise history. Jason Giambi is next at 209.

With 36 games to go, Judge is the run-away favorite to win the season home run title, but the question is will he make history? Growing up about an hour east of here in Linden, Judge never dreamed of being a home run hitter like Barry Bonds, who played on the Giants, his favorite team. Instead, he wanted to be a complete hitter.

“I just tried to be a great hitter, a great player, and be a great teammate. Show up day in and day out, that was always my goal. Never really looked at numbers,” Judge said. “I looked at numbers when I played MLB The Show but that was about it.”

Friday night, Judge took another step toward baseball history with his family and friends in the stands.

“Whenever the Yankees come into town I want to put on a show for everybody. So that’s kind of my main focus. We can roll out of here with a couple of wins for my hometown friends, I get a chance to see them. That’s all I care about,” Judge said. “They can watch it on TV, but it’s good, good to come through with a couple of wins for them in person.”

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