Juan Soto #22 of the Yankees reacts after his seventh...

Juan Soto #22 of the Yankees reacts after his seventh inning three run home run against the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium on Friday, April 19, 2024. Credit: Jim McIsaac

Aaron Boone expressed a wish before Friday night’s Yankees homestand opener against the Rays.

On the eve of Saturday’s ceremony to honor recently retired Yankees radio announcer John Sterling, Boone suggested the team play Sterling’s signature “Thuhhhhhh Yankees Win!” call on the public address system after each home victory.

“That would be kind of cool, I think,” Boone said.

Oh, how nice it would have been for Yankees fans in the stadium to be treated to that at the end of a 5-3 comeback victory over Tampa Bay before 36,055 at Yankee Stadium.

How nice it would have been to hear Sterling describe the Yankees’ five-run rally in the seventh inning, with all of the runs being unearned. Probably something along the lines of “That’s baseball, Suzyn.”

Trailing 1-0, the Yankees (14-6) were helped by two Tampa Bay errors — one by second baseman Curtis Mead and, after a walk to Jose Trevino, one by first baseman Yandy Diaz that allowed the tying run to score. Anthony Volpe then singled to give the Yankees a 2-1 lead and snap his 0-for-14 streak.

And how Sterling would have framed Juan Soto’s massive three-run home run into the second deck in right that made the score 5-1.

From the moment Soto connected on his 409-foot blast, it was high, it was far and it was gone. Soto’s fifth Yankees home run had an exit velocity of 111 mph.

“It’s a Soto Photo! He is Juanderful! Marvelous!” was Sterling’s Soto home run call before he retired effective immediately on Monday.

The Yankees announced that Saturday’s ceremony to honor the 85-year-old Sterling will begin at 12:30 p.m. and will be telecast on YES.

“I'm sure it'll be an awesome event,” Boone said. “Hearing some of the tributes roll in over the last few days, I'm a romantic when it comes to baseball on the radio, and so I totally get that. John has been the voice of a generation for Yankee fans. That's a pretty big audience. And it's [an] amazing voice and amazing calls and the theatrics of what he brings to the table. I'm going to miss that.

“Hopefully tomorrow's just a day that you can celebrate a guy that's been a giant in the industry for a long, long time and looking forward to seeing him out here. Get to pay our tribute to him.”

Boone had a chance to pay tribute to Soto, too. "I was admiring where that ball was going," he said. "Of the five homers, that's the first one that I think he's really, really stepped on. Like, 'Where's this gonna land?' "

Soto, who also made a leaping catch at the top of the rightfield fence in the third inning,  has 20 RBIs in 20 games and a  .347/.468/.600 slash line. When he got back to rightfield after the homer, Soto heard MVP chants.

"It's way too early," he said. "But definitely, it feels great."

Brooklyn-born Richie Palacios hit a home run in the sixth inning against Yankees starter Clarke Schmidt, who allowed one run, seven hits and no walks with seven strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings.

After Soto's home run capped the big seventh inning, the Rays made it 5-3 in the eighth on Isaac Paredes’ two-run single off Ian Hamilton.

Former Yankee Ben Rortvedt and Diaz singled against Clay Holmes in the ninth. The first out came on a pop-up to short center that Volpe and Gleyber Torres didn’t chase adequately, forcing Aaron Judge to try to make a diving catch. He couldn't, but with some confusion about whether second-base umpire John Libka had called an infield fly or not, Torres was able to throw to third for an easy forceout.

Holmes then picked up his eighth save when Palacios lined out to Volpe, who threw to Torres at second to double off Jose Siri for the final out.

The Rays outhit the Yankees 14-5.

But thuhhhhhh Yankees won.

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