NEW YORK (AP) -- A month after setting a record for most home runs in a month, big league batters did it again and are on pace to shatter the season mark.
The Elias Sports Bureau said Monday that batters hit 1,142 home runs in June, seven more than in May.
Five of the top six home run months have been in the last three years. August 2017 is third at 1,119, followed by June 2017 (1,101), May 2000 (1,069) and May 2017 (1,060).
A total of 3,421 home runs were hit in 1,255 games through Sunday, an average of 2.73 per game. That is up 19% from the 2.28 average through June last year, when 2,822 home runs were hit in 1,236 games. Batters are on pace to hit 6,624 home runs -- well above the record 6,105 set in 2017 and up from 5,585 last year.
Milwaukee's Christian Yelich leads the major leagues with 29 home runs, followed by New York Mets rookie Peter Alonso (28) and the Los Angeles Dodgers' Cody Bellinger (27).
A year after strikeouts surpassed hits for the first time, whiffs remain ahead: 21,871 to 21,554. While there were more strikeouts than hits in March (949 to 848) and April (6,799 to 6,371), hitting has picked up in the warmer months. There were 7,170 hits to 7,137 strikeouts in May and 7,165 hits to 6,986 strikeouts in June.
The major league batting average was .251 through June. That is up three percentage points from last year's average, the lowest since 1972 -- the year before the American League started using the designated hitter.