Yankees vs. Rays is baseball's most entertaining rivalry right now
The two teams combined for 67 runs in their past six meetings, five of which featured a one-run margin of victory
The two most recent series between the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays have been some of the most fun baseball games of the season. Both teams have battled in (mostly) closely contested games with lots of offense.
The Yankees and MLB-leading Rays combined to score 67 runs in their past six matchups and still have one game left in this weekend's series in the Bronx. Even better, the margin of victory in all but one of those games was one run.
Saturday's game proved to be almost identical to one from almost a week ago, only with the outcome for each side reversed. The Yankees overcame a 6-0 deficit to beat the Rays 9-8 six days after New York blew a 6-0 lead and lost on a walk-off single in Tampa.
The Rays opened the scoring in the second inning Saturday and piled on in the top of the fifth after a Yandy Díaz grand slam pushed Tampa Bay's lead to 5-0 and a Randy Arozarena RBI single extended it to 6-0.
Kyle Higashioka got the Yankees on the board with a two-run homer in the bottom of the fifth, and then Aaron Judge almost single-handedly erased the deficit with two two-run home runs. The first — a 406-foot shot to deep right-center field — cut the deficit to two runs. After Anthony Volpe scored on a wild pitch to draw the Yankees within one run, Judge launched another 400-footer — this time to deep left field — to give New York a 7-6 lead.
Aaron Judge doing Aaron Judge things 🔨
The Yankees trailed 6-0. Judge's SECOND homer of the game gives New York the lead.pic.twitter.com/lziCLOuM8j
— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) May 13, 2023
Judge is now tied with Alex Rodriguez for the fifth-most multi-home-run games in franchise history, with 29.
Oswaldo Cabrera's two-run single made it 9-6 Yankees in the bottom of the sixth before the Rays scored twice in the seventh to cut the deficit to one run. Wandy Peralta closed out the ninth inning to seal the win for New York.
On Friday, the two sides fought in a back-and-forth battle that featured 11 combined runs and four lead changes until the Yankees won 6-5. The Rays won two of the three matchups at home, including the six-run comeback win in the 10th and a 5-4 win that featured a four-run comeback by the Yankees.
These two series are another example of just how competitive and exciting the AL East race is this year.
The Rays remain at the top of the division and the American League, but the fourth-place Yankees aren't far behind, with the Boston Red Sox, Toronto Blue Rays and Baltimore Orioles all squarely in the mix. If anything, the past two comeback wins for the Yankees and the overall tightness of the games between the top and bottom of the division epitomize how open things are just six weeks into the season.