ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — After trailing until the eighth inning Wednesday night, the Yankees were about to do something unthinkable: lose a second straight game.
But they returned to 2022 form in the eighth, as Jose Trevino continued to surprise with his bat, hitting a two-run homer in a 5-4 win over the Rays at Tropicana Field.
Michael King and Clay Holmes held on to the lead and the Yankees avoided losing back-to-back games — something they still haven’t done since losing back-to-back games here May 28-29.
Aaron Judge has hit two more homers and now has an MLB record 27 as he prepares for the arbitration hearing scheduled for Friday and the Yankees have kept pace with the 1998 team, going 51-18 , tied for the third-best start in franchise history.
The return eclipsed a rare night off for Jordan Montgomery.
In his first start against Tampa Bay this season, the southpaw allowed a season-high four runs — and two home runs — over six innings.
He had become only the second starting pitcher in franchise history to allow three runs or less in each of his first 13 starts to start a season, joining Ron Guidry, who has done so in his first 15 starts. in 1978.
New Yankees killer Isaac Paredes, fresh off a three-homerun night on Tuesday, started the bottom of the second with another home run to put the Yankees down 1-0.
After Josh Lowe hit a one-out single, Vidal Brujan smashed a two-run shot to left center to give the Rays a 3-0 lead.
The Yankees offense took longer to get going.
DJ LeMahieu started the game with a single to center and right-hander Shane Baz – after six shutout innings against the Orioles in his second start of the year – then retired nine straight until Judge opened the start of the fourth with a left homer.
The Rays added a run late in the fourth when Francisco Mejia doubled to start, moved to third on a Lowe fly ball and scored on Brujan’s helicopter at shortstop.
They loaded the bases later in the inning, but Trevino bailed Montgomery out of Taylor Walls at third to end the inning.
The Yankees charged the bases with one out in the fifth. Trevino picked and Joey Gallo and LeMahieu walked to bring up Judge. The judge took Baz for a full count, but Baz swung him on a curveball.
Southpaw Brooks Raley came in to take on Rizzo and made the DH hit a liner in second, which was caught by Paredes.
A Tampa Bay error brought the Yankees closer with two outs in the sixth. With Giancarlo Stanton at second and Matt Carpenter at the start, Trevino hit a routine ground ball short, but Walls rebounded the pitch at first and Ji-Man Choi couldn’t find it, allowing Stanton to score. and make it 4-2.
A march from Gallo charged the bases for LeMahieu, who popped up.
Judge brought the Yankees within a run with his second homer of the night to open the top of the seventh against Colin Poche.
The Tampa Bay relievers, who pitched well in a bullpen game in their victory on Tuesday, were put to the test again on Wednesday.
And when manager Kevin Cash went to Ralph Garza Jr. to start the eighth — the Rays’ seventh pitcher of the night after using the same number on Tuesday — he was unlucky.
Isiah Kiner-Falefa walked and Trevino followed with a two-run left homer, his sixth of the season, to give the Yankees their first lead of the night.
Clarke Schmidt pitched around a starting double in a scoreless seventh and King and Holmes pitched innings scoreless, with Holmes recovering the stoppage.