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WAMC Sports Report: Judge Ties Maris with 61st homer

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Aaron Judge tied Roger Maris’ American League record of 61 home runs in a season, hitting a tie-breaking, two-run drive for the New York Yankees in the seventh inning that led them over Toronto Blue Jays 8-3. The 30-year-old slugger drove a 94.5 mph belt-high sinker with a full-count from Tim Mayza over the left-field fence at Rogers Centre. The 117.4 mph drive took just 3.8 seconds to land 394 feet from the plate. and it put the Yankees ahead 5-3. Judge watched the ball clank off the stands, just below two fans who reached over a railing.

Roger Maris Jr. considers the home run feats of Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa to be illegitimate and says Aaron Judge should be recognized as the holder of the big league season standard if the New York Yankees slugger hits No. 62. Maris says "baseball needs to look at the records.” In 1961, Roger Maris broke the record of 60 set by Babe Ruth in 1927. Maris’ mark stood until McGwire hit 70 in 1998, and that was topped by Barry Bonds’ 73 in 2001. McGwire admitted using steroids, while Bonds and Sosa maintained they didn’t knowingly use PEDs.

Elsewhere in the American League, the Boston Red Sox beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-3.

To the National League where Eduardo Escobar homered and drove in five late runs — including the game-winning single in the 10th inning — to rally the New York Mets past the Miami Marlins 5-4 and back into sole possession of first place in the NL East. By overcoming a four-run deficit, the Mets moved a game ahead of the Braves heading into a three-game showdown between the teams in Atlanta this weekend. The defending World Series champions lost 3-2 in 10 innings at last-place Washington, one night after pulling even with the Mets. Of course, Hurricane Ian could affect the schedule in Atlanta, where the teams are set to square off Friday night following a mutual off day.

Freddie Freeman singled in Mookie Betts with one out in the 10th inning and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the San Diego Padres 1-0 to set the franchise single-season record with their 107th win. The win by the NL West champion Dodgers kept the Padres’ magic number at four for clinching a wild-card berth in a full season for the first time since 2006. It also put the Dodgers in position to win their ninth straight series against the Padres since June 2021. The series finale is Thursday night. The teams went to extra innings for the second straight night.


The Tampa Bay Buccaneers moved their football operations to South Florida to avoid Hurricane Ian and remain hopeful of being able to return home to play the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday night. The team practiced at the Miami Dolphins' training facility on Wednesday. The Bucs insisted the disruption to their normal routine will not hinder their ability to prepare for the team they beat in the Super Bowl two seasons ago. Family members, and even some pets, accompanied players and coaches in relocating ahead of the storm making landfall on Florida’s west coast.

Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett is staying home to rest and recover from injuries suffered in a car crash. His status for Cleveland’s game on Sunday at Atlanta remains in doubt. Garrett was not at the team’s facility Wednesday, two days after the All-Pro rolled over his Porsche in a single-car accident on a rural road near his home. He suffered a sprained shoulder, strained biceps, cuts and bruises in the wreck. Garrett was hospitalized for several hours, and sheriff’s bodycam footage showed him looking dazed while being treated by medical personnel. Several of Garrett’s teammates expressed gratitude that he wasn’t more seriously hurt.


Orlando’s training camp schedule is no match for Hurricane Ian. The Magic could not practice on Wednesday because the storm was looming, and called off their practice on Thursday as well because Ian was forecast to seriously affect the Orlando area with its rain and wind. Hurricane Ian, one of the most powerful storms ever recorded in the U.S., made landfall in southwest Florida on Wednesday afternoon, bringing massive amounts of rain — more than a foot in some cases — and knocking out power to 1.8 million people.

Japanese basketball fans will get to see NBA stars up close when the reigning NBA champion Golden State Warriors take on the Washington Wizards in two preseason games. Stephen Curry and Japanese star Rui Hachimura will be the big attractions. And as clearly as the logo of Japanese online retailer Rakuten is splashed on Curry’s jersey, big money is riding on the NBA’s most recent foray into Japan. A senior manager at a Japanese automaker — and one of the sponsors — thinks it’s all worth it, given the NBA’s strong appeal to the younger generation. It's a trend that’s backed up by marketing studies.


Alyssa Thomas had 13 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists to help the United States beat Serbia 88-55 in the quarterfinals of the women’s World Cup. Kelsey Plum scored 17 points and A’ja Wilson added 15 to lead the Americans, who will face Canada in the semifinals on Friday. The Americans used a 12-0 run to close the half and break open a tight game. The U.S. scored the first eight points in the third quarter to put it away. Yvonne Anderson led Serbia with 14 points.

Canada has advanced to its first World Cup semifinals since 1986 as Kia Nurse scored 17 points in a 79-60 win over Puerto Rico. Next up is a matchup with the U.S. on Friday which beat Serbia 88-55. In other quarterfinal games later France played China and Belgium faced host Australia. Canada (5-1) and Puerto Rico were tied 4-4 before the Canadians scored the next 12 points to start a 22-7 burst to close the quarter. Alyssa Thomas had 13 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists to help the U.S. beat Serbia.

David Guistina is the host of Capital Connection, Legislative Gazette, and Morning Edition and the producer of the Media Project on WAMC.