Mike Francesa retained his ratings lead over Michael Kay in the spring, but not by much.

Kay finished closer than he ever had before in the race between the afternoon sports talk radio hosts for the March 30 to June 21 quarter, results of which were released on Wednesday.

When they were head-to-head from 3 to 6:30 p.m., Francesa averaged 5.7 percent of the audience on WFAN in the key demographic of men ages 25-54, ranking fourth overall in the market, according to Nielsen Audio.

Kay averaged 4.9 percent on ESPN New York and ranked sixth. He also closed the quarter strongly, edging Francesa for June alone, 5.2 to 5.1.

Francesa, who plans to leave WFAN on Dec. 15, ranked second for the entirety of his 1-to-6:30 p.m. program with a 5.8 rating, while ESPN was 10th with a 4.1 over those 5 1⁄2 hours.

WFAN was No. 1 in morning drive time, with Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton averaging a 6.7 rating compared with ESPN’s 4.1, which was 11th overall.

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The WFAN midday show of Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts was sixth with a 5.3 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.; ESPN was 11th at 3.0.

In an interview with NorthJersey.com posted Tuesday, Kay said, “Our show is quantifiably better than Mike’s. It’s funny, not one guy bloviating. It’s three guys laughing, having a good time. We don’t dread it and that comes across to our listeners. We’ve made unbelievable inroads. People are noticing.

“I used to listen to ‘Mike and Mad Dog’ all the time. It was innovative and fun; you had to listen. But I defy anyone who listens to our show to say it’s not better. There’s no way that if Mike started today, he would be No. 1 in the market.”