Blessed with Mom power, Aaron Judge stuns Rays

On May 13, 2023, at Yankee Stadium, Aaron Judge blasted two home runs to lead the Yankees to a 9-8 victory over the Rays.
Michael Bennington
Sunday May 14, 2023

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The Yankees entered May as the last-place AL East team, causing some fans to lose hope for the season. But the Yankees led by Aaron Judge refused to give up and continued their fight to resurge. On Saturday, the team faced a seemingly insurmountable 6-0 deficit against the strong Tampa Bay Rays, causing many to believe that they were defeated. However, the Yankees led by Aaron Judge refused to give up, as they have a reputation for resilience.

Aaron Judge hit two home runs, his first since April 19, giving the Yankees enough reason to demonstrate their determination and fought back to victory. Despite appearing to be in a hopeless situation, the team 9-8 came back to win 9-8 against the Tampa Bay Rays, who are currently leading the MLB standings.

The win was improbable as the Rays had their best pitcher on the mound, and the Yankees were down 6-0. But in a move reminiscent of his performances in 2022, Aaron Judge led the Yankees to a remarkable 9-8 victory that lifted them out of last place. Aaron Judge hit a two-run home run in the fifth inning when the Yankees scored four runs to reduce the six-point deficit. Then in the sixth inning, he hit another homer with a man on base to give the Yankees a five-run lead.

Aaron Judge’s performance, which included his 29th multihomer game, became a significant factor in the victory at Yankee Stadium. Aaron Judge made the Mother’s Day weekend memorable by wearing pink spikes with his mom Patty’s name on it.

Aaron Judge brings the big win

In the bottom of the fifth, while the Yankees were down 6-2, Aaron Judge hit a homer to the right field off the Rays’ top pitcher, Shane McClanahan. In the next inning, the 31-year-old hit another homer to the left field, giving his team a 7-6 lead. Aaron Judge’s two homers and four RBIs helped the Yankees overcome a six-run deficit and win 9-8 against the Rays on Saturday, marking their ninth comeback win of the season.

Following Nestor Cortes‘ surrendering of five runs in the fifth inning on Saturday, the Rays took a 6-0 lead and it seemed as though the game would be a non-competitive affair. However, the Yankees did not give up and mounted a comeback, winning their second consecutive game against Tampa Bay.

In the bottom of the fifth inning, Kyle Higashioka and Aaron Judge hit two-run homers each that helped the Yankees cut the lead to 6-4 and forced Rays’ starting pitcher Shane McClanahan out of the game, setting the tone for the rest of the game.

Following a walk to Gleyber Torres, Ryan Thompson faced Aaron Judge, who smashed a 1-2 slider into the second deck in left field at a speed of 113.5 miles per hour, securing his second home run of the day and giving the Yankees a 7-6 lead.

“When Aaron Judge made it 6-4 with that home run, kinda had the feel of last week when they came back on Gerrit [Cole],” Rizzo said. “Kinda talking about that in the dugout a little bit.”

The Yankees have won eight games recently, and six of them were achieved by coming from behind. Saturday’s win over the Rays was the biggest of those comebacks, as they were down by three runs, a larger deficit than the one they overcame against Cleveland on April 12. The win was especially sweet for the Yankees, as it was a reversal of fortunes from a game six days earlier when they lost after Gerrit Cole gave up a six-run lead against the Rays. Anthony Rizzo also acknowledged the significance of the win, recognizing it as a crucial victory after their previous loss.

“Especially against the Rays, the way they’ve been playing, scratching and clawing with their ace on the mound and down six,” Rizzo said. “We were kind of talking about that in the dugout a little bit. We just had to have good at-bats.”

Aaron Judge has a message

When questioned about the Yankees’ struggling start to the season, the pressure they face, and the discontent felt by their fans, Aaron Judge confidently stated that they are not affected by it. He expressed that the team is not listening to any external noise.

“I feel like with this team and our offense we’re never out of a game,” Aaron Judge said. “Especially with the bullpen arms we got there to give us a couple of zeroes, it’s about us getting something as an offense. [Reliever] Jimmy Cordero came in and, 6-0 game, he’s like ‘Hey guys, we got this, we got this.’ That kinda pumped everybody up hearing that message.”

After the game, when asked if the victory was the most significant of the season, Aaron Judge took a moment to reflect and swayed back and forth on his feet.

“It’s tough to say,” he said. “It was a big one for sure, especially going against a guy [Rays starter Shane McClanahan] that’s leading every single category pitching-wise in the AL so far. … A lot of good team at-bats. Guys moving runners over, seeing guys lay bunts down, and just keeping them guessing out is huge. This is a big win.”

Aaron Judge described the win as a big one, stating that he had played a significant role in catalyzing the Yankees with two-run home runs in the fifth and sixth innings. He acknowledged that it was not an easy feat since the victim was Shane McClanahan, who had the second-best ERA in the American League.

Aaron Judge Ties Alex Rodriguez in Team History

Aaron Judge has now equaled Alex Rodriguez‘s record for the fifth-highest number of multi-home run games in Yankees history with a total of 29 multi-home run games.

Currently, Aaron Judge has a batting average of .259, along with seven home runs and 18 runs batted in (RBIs). He had to take a break due to a hip problem and was only recently reinstated.

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