Yankees' Aaron Judge hits a home run against the Tampa...

Yankees' Aaron Judge hits a home run against the Tampa Bay Rays during the seventh inning of a baseball game Wednesday, June 22, 2022, in St. Petersburg, Fla.  Credit: AP/Scott Audette

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – After a come-from-behind victory on the road June 9 against the Twins – a night Gerrit Cole lasted just 2 1/3 innings – Aaron Boone described the feeling as infielders gathered around during an early-inning pitching change.  

“Don’t let us hang around, that’s the dynamic,” Boone said. “There was that feeling out on the mound like, ‘Hey, they’re going to let us hang around. Keep grinding and we’re going to get this one.’ It’s one of those nights there was that belief going on.”

Though it wasn’t quite the same circumstance Wednesday – the night in Minneapolis was a shootout kind of affair with the Yankees tallying 10 runs in the win – there was something familiar in play.

The feeling of an inevitable comeback.

Shrugging aside an early three-run deficit on a night Jordan Montgomery wasn’t close to his best, the Yankees, getting two more homers from AL MVP frontrunner Aaron Judge and a go-ahead two-run blast by Jose Trevino in the eighth inning, rallied for a 5-4 victory over the Rays in front of 12,264 at Tropicana Field.

“I think the walk-off (on May 24, the birthdate of his father, who passed away in 2013) was my Yankee moment,” said Trevino, who grew up in Corpus Christi, Texas as a Yankees fan. “This is definitely up there. Huge series win.”

The Yankees (51-18), who start a four-game series against the AL West-leading Astros Thursday night at the Stadium, took two of three from the Rays (37-32).

Already getting MLB-leading homers Nos 26 and 27 from Judge, the Yankees entered the eighth trailing 4-3. But Isiah Kiner-Falefa worked a leadoff walk against righty Ralph Garza Jr., the Rays' seventh pitcher of the night, and Trevino stepped in and roped a full-count pitch out to left, his sixth homer making it 5-4 and sending the Yankees’ dugout into hysterics as the club’s MLB-leading 20th comeback victory suddenly seemed at hand.

“He’s been special,” Judge said of Trevino, whom the outfielder, like Boone, said belongs in Los Angeles for next month’s All-Star Game. “He’s worked his butt off for this opportunity and he’s taken full advantage of it.”

Michael King pitched a scoreless eighth and Clay Holmes nailed down the ninth, recording his 12th save in 13 chances.

But it was a defensive play that drew just as much attention as any of the home runs.

With the bases loaded and two outs in the fourth and the dangerous Ji-Man Choi at the plate, Trevino’s snap throw to third baseman Josh Donaldson picked Taylor Walls off third, keeping the Yankees’ deficit to 4-1.

“Felt like were a little bit flat tonight early,” Boone said. “That was a shot in the arm.”

Montgomery, who came in 3-1 with a 2.72 ERA, allowed a season-high four runs and a season-high nine hits. One of those was a home run by Isaac Paredes, who homered three times Tuesday night and became the first Ray to hit homers in four straight at-bats. Vidal Brujan’s two-run homer later in the inning made it 3-0 but Montgomery, who didn’t feel he had much, still managed to get through six and keep his offense in the game.

Judge, whose broken-bat flyout to the wall ended Tuesday night’s 5-4 loss, started the fourth by destroying a first-pitch, hanging slider to left-center to make it 3-1. The blast made it 57 of 65 starts this season in which the outfielder reached base at least once.

Judge made it 4-3 in the seventh with a towering drive, on a 1-and-2 curveball from Colin Poche, that looked as if it might scrape the Tropicana Field roof, the moonshot giving Judge 16 homers in his last 38 games and 22 homers in his last 49 games.  

“I think we keep showing ourselves and everybody that we can win in different ways,” Boone said. “Whatever the night brings, whatever the game brings, I think they’re really confident they’re going to find a way to win in the end.”

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