Aaron Judge showed again on Saturday why he’s the frontrunner to win AL MVP.
But just like Judge, Matt Carpenter also homered twice in a 14-1 win over the Red Sox.
Judge’s performance this season isn’t surprising — although the fact that he’s now the second Yankee to hit 33 homers before the All-Star break, joining Roger Maris in his record-breaking 1961 season — is a bit unexpected.
Probably not as unexpected, though, as Carpenter, who was sitting in his Fort Worth, Texas, home in late May, hoping to get another chance following his release by the Rangers.
Following his second three-run shot Saturday, he got a curtain call from the largest crowd of the season, 47,997, at Yankee Stadium.
Carpenter’s two blasts — which gave him 13 in just 30 games with the team — helped spark a Yankee team that had dropped five of six games — including three in a row to Boston.
Carpenter’s resurgence followed two ugly final seasons with the Cardinals and then a brief stint with Texas’ Triple-A affiliate in Round Rock.
Although Carpenter hit in the minors, he didn’t get called up to the Rangers and requested his release.
At the time, the Yankees were without DJ LeMahieu, Josh Donaldson and Giancarlo Stanton due to various injuries and they valued Carpenter’s bat.
When he joined the team before the Yankees faced Tampa Bay on May 26, Carpenter said he told Aaron Boone, “If you want me to load the bags on the plane, that’s what I’ll do.”
Carpenter hasn’t had to worry about any luggage since his arrival.
He’s hit so well, in fact, he’s forced his way into what was a full Yankees outfield, shoving Joey Gallo to the side.
On Saturday, Carpenter started in right field and let his bat do the talking.
After Rafael Devers gave the Red Sox the lead with a solo shot off Jameson Taillon in the top of the first — Devers’ fifth homer of the season against the Yankees — Carpenter and the offense came back in the bottom of the inning against right-hander Nick Pivetta.
LeMahieu led off with a shot to the gap in left-center, where center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. made a fantastic running catch.
Judge followed with a single and moved to third on Anthony Rizzo’s double — after Rizzo’s home run bid down the right-field line went foul.
Stanton walked to load the bases for Donaldson, who grounded to third, which drive in Judge to tie the game at 1-1.
Carpenter then drilled his 12th homer of the year into the right-field seats.
The three-run shot gave the Yankees a 4-1 lead.
Taillon came out in the second and struck out the side in order, as he went on to retire the final 17 batters he faced in his best start in nearly a month.
Judge, who’d been in a bit of a slump over the last two weeks, led off the bottom of the fifth with a home run off Pivetta.
With two on and one out in the fifth, Pivetta was replaced by left-hander Darwinzon Hernandez to face Carpenter.
It didn’t matter, as Carpenter crushed another homer to make it 8-1. He’s hit more homers than any other Yankee in their first 30 games with the team, breaking the record set by Kevin Maas in 1990 and Glenallen Hill in 2000.
Aaron Hicks came to the plate and after Hicks took a pitch and the Bronx crowd was still buzzing, Carpenter came out for the curtain call.
Judge then put his mini-slump further behind him with his second homer of the night in the sixth, a 444-foot bomb.
Carpenter then drew a bases-loaded walk in the eighth after a 13-pitch at-bat, giving him seven RBIs on the night.