Judge homers twice, Yankees overcome 6-run deficit, beat Rays 9-8
NEW YORK (AP) — Six-run leads with All-Star aces on the mound don't mean what they used to.
Less than a week after watching Tampa Bay rally to victory from a 6-0, fifth-inning deficit against Gerrit Cole, the Yankees found themselves trailing Shane McClanahan by the same margin on Saturday.
“They did it to us. Let's do it to them,” Anthony Rizzo remembered saying to teammates in New York's dugout.
Aaron Judge hit a pair of two-run homers, Anthony Volpe sparked the Yankees by breaking Joe DiMaggio’s team record for consecutive stolen bases at the start of a career and New York topped the Rays 9-8.
“Wow, it’s crazy,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said.
In a matchup of All-Star starters, Taylor Walls had a go-ahead single in the second and Yandy Díaz hit his first career grand slam in a five-run fifth against Nestor Cortes. Wander Franco's double chased Cortes and Jimmy Cordero (3-1) allowed Randy Arozarena's two-out, run-scoring infield single — originally ruled an out at first but overturned in a video review. Cordero retired Isaac Paredes on an inning-ending groundout.
“Hey guys. Let's go! We got this!” Judge recalled Cordero telling his teammates in the middle of the fifth. “That kind of pumped everybody up.”
New York batted around in consecutive frames, part of a stretch in which 22 of 37 batters reached in a 2 1/2-inning span.
Wearing pink spikes on Mother’s Day weekend with mom Patty in the ballpark, Judge found his stroke after going 3 for 15 in his return from an injured list stint caused by a strained hip. His homers were his first since April 19 and gave him 29 multihomer games.
Jake Bauers walked starting the bottom of the fifth and Kyle Higashioka hit a two-run homer on a changeup. Gleyber Torres walked and Judge followed with an opposite-field homer to right-center on a low, inside slider.
“These are some of the funnest games we’ve played all year,” Judge said. “They’re bringing it every single night and we’re bringing it every single night. It’s a lot of dirty at-bats, grinding at-bats.”
Volpe reached on a bunt single to the left side off Ryan Thompson (1-1) starting the sixth, stole second and third, then sped home on the next offering when Thompson’s slider was outside and in the dirt, eluding catcher Francisco Mejía for a wild pitch.
“Those are energy plays,” Boone said.
Volpe is 13 for 13 in steal attempts, one more than DiMaggio from the start of his career until he was caught at home by Boston on Sept. 25, 1938, as part of a double-steal attempt with Lou Gehrig.
“Any time I get on, I want to try to push the envelope,” Volpe said.
Torres walked and Judge drove a slider 439 feet into the left field second deck for his eighth homer this season and a 7-6 lead.
“I threw a really bad pitch to one of the best players in the game.” Thompson said.
Orlando Cabrera, who entered as a pinch hitter in the fifth, boosted the lead to 9-6 with a two-run single against Javy Guerra on a grounder that just eluded a diving Walls at second and went into right field.
Arozarena hit a broken-bat, two-run single in the seventh against Clay Holmes after two batters reached off Ron Marinaccio.
Díaz stranded a runner at second in the eighth when he took a called third strike from Holmes in a nine-pitch at-bat, and Wandy Peralta worked around a two-out walk in the ninth for his second save this season. Brandon Lowe fouled off six 1-2 pitches before a game-ending flyout.
“He spoiled, spoiled, spoiled and hung in there,” Boone said.
After losing last Sunday 8-7 in 10 innings at Tampa Bay, New York overcame a six-run deficit to win for the first time since rallying from 8-2 down to beat Minnesota 14-12 on July 23, 2019. The Yankees (23-19) closed within eight games of the major league-leading Rays.
“This is a big win,” Judge said.
Cortes gave up six runs and seven hits in 4 1/3 innings and has allowed 15 runs in his last three starts as his ERA ballooned to 5.53. He wore green cleats with the name and picture of Tam Major, a standardbred horse Cortes owns that was entered in the 10th race at the Meadowlands on Saturday night.
McClanahan entered 7-0 with a 1.76 ERA and had not allowed more than two runs in his first eight starts. He gave up four runs, four hits and four walks in four-plus innings.
“I just didn't make quality pitches,” he said. “I got to do better than that. The team expects it. I expect it. The fans expect it. Terrible."
Yankees: LHP Carlos Rodón (strained left forearm) was awaiting a go-ahead to start throwing following an injection of a painkiller to his back Tuesday. ... 3B Josh Donaldson (strained right hamstring) could resume a minor league rehabilitation assignment next week.
RHP Clarke Schmidt (1-3) starts Sunday for New York and RHP Zack Eflin (4-1) for the Rays.
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