NEW YORK (AP) — Major league batters set a record in May for most home runs in any month.
Batters hit 1,135 home runs in May, topping the previous mark of 1,119 in August 2017, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Toronto rookie Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hit No. 1,120 for the month on Friday night.
Four of the top five home run months have been in the last three years. June 2017 is third at 1,101, followed by May 2000 (1,069) and May 2017 (1,060).
Milwaukee’s Christian Yelich led the big leagues with 21 homers through the end of May, followed by the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger with 20 and New York Mets rookie Pete Alonso with 19.
Batters have hit 2,279 home runs this season, a record average of 1.34 per team per game. At that pace, they would finish with 6,508, shattering the mark of 6,105 set two years ago — which topped the Steroids Era high of 5,693 in 2000. Home runs dipped to 5,585 last season.
Last year, there were 1,889 home runs through May.
Hits topped strikeouts in May — 7,178 to 7,137 — but strikeouts are ahead 14,885 to 14,397 for the season, according to Elias.
There were more strikeouts than hits for the first time last year, when the margin through May was 14,314 to 14,031.
The major league batting average was .249 through May. That is up one percentage point from last year’s average, the lowest since 1972 — the year before the American League started using the designated hitter.