LEADING OFF: Judge’s homers power Yanks’ 9-game win streak

May 1, 2022, 11:47 AM | Updated: 11:48 pm
New York Yankees' Aaron Judge watches his three-run home run during the seventh inning of a basebal...

New York Yankees' Aaron Judge watches his three-run home run during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Kansas City Royals Friday, April 29, 2022, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

(AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

A look at what’s happening around the majors today:

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JUDGE VS. JAYS

Yankees slugger Aaron Judge has hit five home runs in his last five games, part of a surge that’s helped New York win nine in a row.

Judge has connected in three straight games. The Yankees lead the majors with a 16-6 record going into a three-game series at Toronto.

George Springer, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and the Blue Jays split four games at Yankee Stadium from April 11-14 in a series that included three shutouts — two by New York pitching. Surprising, considering all the power packed into these lineups.

This series marks the final leg of an early test for Toronto — 16 consecutive games (the last 10 at home) against three 2021 AL playoff teams: Boston, Houston and New York.

OHTANI OK

Angels star Shohei Ohtani said he expects to be back in the lineup a day after making an early exit because of tightness in his right groin.

The two-way AL MVP was the Angels’ designated hitter when he was pulled for a pinch-hitter in the ninth inning of Sunday’s 6-5 win over the Chicago White Sox.

“I was taken out for safety reasons. I was perfectly OK with it,” Ohtani said through a translator.

Angels manager Joe Maddon said Ohtani might have tweaked his groin running to first in the seventh inning on a grounder back to pitcher Jose Ruiz that the White Sox turned into a double play.

Ohtani is batting .228 with four home runs, 12 RBIs and four stolen bases this season. As a pitcher, he’s 2-2 with a 4.19 ERA, striking out 30 in 19 1/3 innings.

CORREA’S STREAK

After a slow start since signing with the Twins, star shortstop Carlos Correa is finding his stroke.

Correa posted his fourth straight multi-hit game Sunday as Minnesota beat the Rays 9-3. The streak has raised his batting average from .167 to .256.

Correa, who got a $105.3 million, three-year contract from the Twins, tries to keep the string going when Minnesota begins a series at Baltimore.

MAKING THE CUT

Rosters for big league teams will be cut from 28 players down to 26 starting this week, forcing teams to make some tough choices.

The expanded rosters helped clubs deal with a shortened spring training after the MLB lockout. Teams can continue to carry 14 pitchers through May 30.

Yankees pitcher Clarke Schmidt was optioned back to Triple-A after getting the win Sunday at Kansas City. The 26-year-old righty has a 1.08 ERA in four games.

“It’s a real tough pill to swallow,” Schmidt said. “It’s a tough part of the game, but it’s a business also.”

NL EAST WATCH

In their initial matchup of the season, the first-place New York Mets host Ronald Acuña Jr. and the World Series champion Atlanta Braves at Citi Field.

Chris Bassitt (3-1, 2.25 ERA) pitches for the Mets against Max Fried (2-2, 3.00) in the opener of a four-game series that includes a single-admission doubleheader Tuesday. Fried has won his last two starts, allowing one run and six hits with 12 strikeouts over 13 innings.

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LEADING OFF: Judge’s homers power Yanks’ 9-game win streak