Aaron Judge of the Yankees is greeted by his team after...

Aaron Judge of the Yankees is greeted by his team after hitting a walk-off 10th-inning three-run home run against the Astros during their game at Yankee Stadium on Sunday. Credit: Getty Images/Al Bello

Anthony Rizzo doesn’t have to think too hard about it, even though there are so many to choose from.

“The one in Minnesota,” he said Monday. “The night Gerrit gave up six or seven and we just kind of looked around and said, ‘Hey, we got this.’ We ended up winning.”

Of course the Yankees did.

By way of refresher, the game was on June 9 and Gerrit Cole allowed seven earned runs in the first 2 1⁄3 innings. The Yankees were staring down a four-run deficit in the fifth when it all started happening — that thing that’s happened an MLB-leading 23 times this season.

Joey Gallo and DJ LeMahieu homered and Aaron Hicks hit a two-run shot in the sixth to tie the score at 7. Then, with Aaron Judge at second, Rizzo looped an opposite-field single for the go-ahead run in the seventh. They ended up winning 10-7.

“You never know who’s going to come up with a big hit,” Judge mused on Sunday after coming up with a big hit, a walk-off home run (naturally).

The Yankees did it again Monday night, falling behind Oakland 5-1 in the third inning before scoring six runs in the seventh for a 9-5 victory. That means 23 of their 54 wins have been of the comeback variety. As if that isn’t compelling enough, they have 10 walk-off wins — also best in baseball.

They have made a mockery of win probability, have been asked ad nauseam about their resilience, and at times, can feel a little like a sharp-toothed leopard toying with its prey before the inevitable pounce.

But what is the anatomy of a comeback team? The old-school answer is perseverance, attitude. The new-school answer is situational hitting and good baserunning. The real answer undoubtedly is something in between.

“I think their closeness has helped them,” Aaron Boone said. “They have a lot of trust in one another. Even though you certainly want to come through in those situations, you also realize it doesn’t have to all be on you. In the moment, it’s ‘I don’t have to do more than I’m capable of and, if it’s the next guy because I’m not getting the pitches,’ [that’s OK] . . . I think they’ve been tremendous at, with our hitting coaches, of really being dialed in, [knowing] what their individual plans are and being disciplined to that.”

Boone points to last October, when they were ousted by the Red Sox in the wild-card game.

It led to “the resolve and the seriousness and the hunger that they walked into the offseason with and then showed up out of the lockout with,” he said. “They were tight, they were talking baseball. How can we be good at the little things and hold each other accountable? And that’s what they’ve been doing since the first day of spring.”

The Yankees aren’t consistent with runners in scoring position — their average is the seventh-worst in baseball — but they know how to get on base when they’re behind. They have a major league-best on-base percentage (.349) and slugging percentage (.474) when trailing. When a game is tied, they hit plenty of home runs (31) but they also walk a whole lot — a league-best 97 times.

“I don’t necessarily change my approach in bigger situations,” said Rizzo, who hit a walk-off homer on June 16. “I actually try to do less . . . I think it’s kind of like a formula — things feeding off each other. Success breeds confidence, confidence brings success. When you do come back, it feels good and it gives you confidence, and when you’re confident, you can come back.”

He also brought up an easily overlooked point. The oft-forgotten middle reliever has been pivotal.

The Yankees have the second-best bullpen ERA in baseball, and though Clay Holmes is a huge part of that, when you look at pitchers who have done well when the team is behind, other names emerge: Ron Marinaccio and Wandy Peralta (both have a 0.75 WHIP in 18 2⁄3 innings in those situations) and Miguel Castro (1.20 WHIP in 8 1⁄3).

“Next thing you know, we’re one hit away from tying it or taking the lead,” Rizzo said.

But sure, the big names help, too.

Judge has three walk-off hits and a whopping 1.222 OPS when the Yankees are trailing. He’s got 15 RBIs when behind, and Rizzo and Giancarlo Stanton have 13 each. Rizzo is the best at getting on base with RISP (.375), and Stanton’s OPS in those situations is 1.015.

Isiah Kiner-Falefa is hitting .266 but leads the Yankees at .313 with runners on second or third.

“You never know who’s going to bring the spark,” Stanton said. “We’re rooting for everyone to do it and hopefully it’s someone different every night.”

And there’s a reason why they want that. Boone implied it when he spoke about last year, but Rizzo comes out and says it.

“There are going to be games where we’re losing and we come back and win, and 10 walk-offs is a lot,” he said, not surprised to hear that the season record is only 18. Only two other teams have ever had this many walk-offs through 73 games.

“But teams with this realistic expectation and goal of [succeeding] in the playoffs do that. We’re going to need some wins like this that don’t look too pretty and come back and win.”

Not pretty is subjective, of course. Most people will agree that what they’ve done is nothing short of stunning.

The Yankees have the most comebacks and walk-off wins in baseball going into Monday. Here's how the rest of the league stacks up:


Yankees: 10

Padres: 6

Pirates, Orioles: 5

Phillies, Rays, Atlanta: 4

Mets, Giants, Diamondbacks, Marlins, Twins, Mariners, Cardinals, White Sox: 3

Eight teams have two, five have one, and two have none

Comeback wins

Yankees: 22

Giants, Padres: 20

Diamondbacks: 19

Rockies, Dodgers: 18

Phillies: 17

Brewers, Mets: 16

Blue Jays, Rangers, Guardians, Marlins, Pirates: 15

Atlanta, Orioles, White Sox, Astros: 14

Three teams with 13, one with 12, two with 11, one with 10, three with eight, two with seven

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