Judge ends home-run drought as Yankees snap five-game skid

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Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees celebrates with teammates after hitting a solo home run during the ninth inning against the Seattle Mariners
Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees celebrates with teammates after hitting a solo home run during the ninth inning against the Seattle Mariners

Aaron Judge ended his four-game home-run drought as the New York Yankees snapped their five-game losing skid with a 9-4 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Monday.

The Yankees, who are top of the American League (AL) with a 71-39 record, had been swept in a three-game series by the St Louis Cardinals along with two defeats to the Mariners at Yankee Stadium in their past five.

But they responded at T-Mobile Park from the outset, with Josh Donaldson hitting a first-inning two-run single along with a third-inning solo home run, sandwiched by Mitch Haniger's blast as the Yankees claimed an early 4-1 lead.

The Yankees pulled clear with three runs in the fifth inning, as Andrew Benintendi doubled on a line drive with Donaldson and Gleyber Torres scoring, followed by Benintendi from Isiah Kiner-Falefa's sac fly.

Judge, who leads the majors in home runs, RBIs, runs, slugging percentage and on-base plus slugging this season, re-discovered his form in the ninth inning after his recent lean stretch.

The Yankees outfielder had a close call with a high ball falling just short of the wall in the third inning, but blasted a solo home run in the ninth with a fly ball over deep center field.

The home run was Judge's 44th home run of the season, continuing his march to history with the AL single-season record of 61, from Roger Maris in 1961, within sight. It also ensures Judge's longest run without a home run this season remains seven games.

More Mets momentum with Reds win

The New York Mets kept up their momentum after winning four games in their five-game series against the Atlanta Braves with a 5-1 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.

Starling Marte crushed a two-run home run in the first inning off ex-Mets pitcher Justin Dunn, but Francisco Lindor was sensationally denied a fifth-inning blast by a leaping Albert Almora with a high catch on the wall. Tyler Naquin's eighth-inning two-RBI triple sealed the win.

Chris Bassitt sent down eight strikeouts across eight innings for the Mets, whose starters have pitched a league-best 2.21 ERA since July 5. The Mets have won 13 of their 15 games.

Orioles maintain Wild Card push

The in-form Baltimore Orioles boosted their AL Wild Card aspirations with a 7-4 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays.

Home runs from Ramon Urias, Anthony Santander, Ryan Mountcastle and Austin Hays helped the O's clinch their sixth win from their past seven games.

Felix Bautista closed out the victory, with Bo Bichette grounding into a double play, as the O's improved to 57-52 in the AL Wild Card hunt behind the Blue Jays (60-49), Tampa Bay Rays (58-50) and Mariners (59-52).

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