The New York Yankees and Cleveland Guardians are playing their do-or-die Game 5 of the American League Division Series Tuesday evening. Giancarlo Stanton gave the Yankees an early 3-0 lead with a blast off Guardians starter Aaron Civale in the bottom of the 1st. That was his third career home run in a winner-take-all playoff game, tied with Aaron Judge for the most in MLB history.
It didn’t last long.
In the bottom of the 2nd inning, Judge then hit a solo home run to right. That was his fourth career playoff home run in a winner-take-all game.
Aaron Judge’s 4th career Postseason HR in a winner-take-all-game.
— Ryan Field (@RyanFieldABC) October 18, 2022
That’s truly remarkable considering Judge has only played in the majors for six seasons. Granted, there are more round and playoff games now than for much of baseball history. The Yankees also reached the postseason in all six of his seasons as a big leaguer.
Last year, the Yankees were eliminated in the one-game playoff by the Boston Red Sox. So, he didn’t have much of an opportunity to add to his legacy. But that is the only season in which he has not gone deep in the playoffs.
Aaron Judge hit four playoff home runs his rookie season in 2017, losing to the Houston Astros in the ALCS. He followed that up with three more the following season, despite not getting out of the ALDS. In 2019, Judge and the Yankees once again reached the ALCS, only to lose to Houston once again.
If the Yankees are able to hang onto their lead against the Guardians Tuesday, that is exactly who they will play for the right to go to the World Series once again.
All told, Judge has 12 career playoff home runs. The major league record is 29, held by Manny Ramirez.