Aaron Judge’s first 3-homer game helps Yankees end 9-game skid

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Aaron Judge had his first big league three-homer game and tied his career high with six RBIs, almost single-handedly breaking the New York Yankees’ first nine-game losing streak in 41 years with a 9-1 victory over the Washington Nationals on Wednesday night.

Two hours after general manager Brian Cashman called the season “a disaster,” Judge drove a first-inning curveball from MacKenzie Gore (6-10) over the Yankees bullpen in right-center.

Yankees’ Aaron Judge smacks his THIRD homer of the game against the Nationals

Yankees' Aaron Judge smacks his THIRD homer of the game against the Nationals

Judge opened a 6-0 lead in the second with his fifth career grand slam, a shot into the netting above Monument Park in center field. Then in the seventh he combined with DJ LeMahieu for back-to-back homers against Jose A. Ferrer, popping the ball over the right-field short porch just inside the foul pole.

Judge is hitting .279 with 27 homers and 54 RBIs in 72 games. The reigning AL MVP, who has 32 multihomer games, entered in a 3-for-19 slide. He missed nearly eight weeks because of a sprained right big toe and returned before the injury fully healed.

Last-place New York (61-65) had been within a loss of what would have been its first 10-game losing streak since 1913, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Before Judge’s first homer, the Yankees had gone 61 innings without leading since Aug. 14 at Atlanta, the third-longest stretch in franchise history behind 63 from Aug. 16-23, 1906, and 62 from Sept. 25-Oct. 1, 2000.

Aaron Judge homers twice including a grand slam and extends the Yankees’ lead over the Nationals

Aaron Judge homers twice including a grand slam and extends the Yankees' lead over the Nationals

Luis Severino (3-8) allowed one hit and matched a season high with 6 2/3 innings, ending an 0-4 stretch since he beat Kansas City on July 23. Severino lowered his ERA from 7.98 to 7.26. Catcher Keibert Ruiz had Washington’s lone hit against Severino, lining a two-out single to right in the fourth.

Ian Hamilton and Wandy Peralta finished a three-hitter. Dominic Smith homered for the Nationals with two outs in the ninth.

Gore dropped to 0-3 in his last five starts He gave up six runs — just two earned — and four hits in four innings. Washington had won eight of its previous 10.

He was let down by his defense when center fielder Lane Thomas lost Kyle Higashioka’s second-inning fly in the twilight and the ball glanced off right fielder Stone Garrett’s glove for a two-base error.

Garrett hurt his lower left leg trying to deny LeMahieu’s home run and was taken off the field in a cart.

Harrison Bader slid across the plate in the second on rookie Everson Pereira’s grounder as Ruiz dropped the throw from shortstop CJ Abrams. A day after making his big-league debut, the 22-year-old Pereira was credited with his first RBI.

New York RF Giancarlo Stanton made a jumping catch on Smith near the top of the wall in the seventh.

Reporting by The Associated Press.

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