Home / News / Anthony Rizzo’s pair of homers lift Yankees over Rays

Anthony Rizzo’s pair of homers lift Yankees over Rays

Apr 10, 2023Apr 10, 2023



Thanks for contacting us. We've received your submission.

The season is less than two months old, but on a balmy Friday night in The Bronx, a raucous sellout crowd gave the game between AL East rivals an added punch.

Anthony Rizzo took care of the rest, as the Yankees slugger blasted a go-ahead, two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth inning to help give them a much-needed, 6-5 win over the first-place Rays.

With the win, the last-place Yankees avoided losing their second straight and falling back to 10 games behind Tampa Bay.

After the fourth one-run game between the two teams in their five games in the past week-plus, Rizzo noted how narrow the margin for error was between the two teams.

"That's been the narrative the early part of the season,’’ Rizzo said. "As the season goes on, none of these teams in this division will back down."

That includes the Yankees, who still sit in the cellar, despite having won four of their last five and seven of 10.

Asked if their unfamiliar spot in the standings was a concern, Rizzo said: "If it was September, yes, but not right now. This team, I feel, is built for the long haul."

Rizzo is a crucial part of that, especially with much of the rest of the offense off its game.

The sellout, the second of the year at the Stadium, was due in part to a Rizzo Star Wars-themed bobblehead giveaway.

Asked if he was a Star Wars fan, the first baseman, who also homered in the first inning, said, "I am now."

Gerrit Cole, who allowed two more homers and lasted just five innings, said Rizzo's performance was "one of his top career games. He was at his best tonight and we needed it."

That's because the Yankees found themselves in another back-and-forth game with the Rays, one that looked like it might go Tampa Bay's way when Josh Lowe tagged Michael King for a three-run homer in the top of the eighth inning to give his team a 5-4 lead.

King had allowed two soft hits before Lowe belted his opposite-field shot into the left field seats.

Later in the inning, Clay Holmes kept it a one-run game with runners on the corners by striking out Wander Franco and getting Randy Arozarena — who had homered in the first — on a comebacker.

Wandy Peralta earned the save with a scoreless ninth.

"It hasn't been easy for us," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. "It hasn't been perfect. We’ve been beat up at different times. This group is really competing well."

Cole is among the group that's not at its peak.

The Yankees ace hadn't allowed a homer in his first seven starts before he gave up a pair at Tampa Bay in his last outing and then two more on Friday.

He also endured a 31-pitch first inning that helped lead to his exit after five innings.

Ian Hamilton continued his excellent form out of the bullpen with a scoreless sixth and King pitched an easy seventh.

The Yankees took the lead in the bottom of the seventh with an RBI single by Anthony Volpe — who was dropped to seventh in the lineup after he had batted leadoff in all of his starts since April 15.

Volpe also tied the game with a two-out homer to right-center in the fifth.

King, though, couldn't hold the lead in the eighth and the Yankees were closing in on what would have been a fourth loss in five games to their AL East foes.

But Rizzo bailed out the right-hander in another of what is sure to be a number of hard-fought battles in the division.

Cole called the rivalry between the two teams "as competitive as it gets."

"The AL East is stacked,’’ Cole said. "It's been stacked for my entire career. … If you want to get to where you want to get to, you’re gonna have to go through really good clubs."

Get seats. Earn rewards. Experience it live.