Juan Soto’s 3-run homer in 5-run 7th inning lifts Yankees over Rays 5-3

Juan Soto Celebrates 3-Run Homer In Victory Over Rays
New York Yankees' Juan Soto, right, celebrates as he reaches home plate after hitting a three-run home run during the seventh inning of a baseball game as Tampa Bay Rays catcher Ben Rortvedt watches Friday, April 19, 2024, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

NEW YORK (AP) — Juan Soto hit a three-run homer halfway up the right field second deck to cap a five-run seventh inning and the New York Yankees rallied to beat the Tampa Bay Rays 5-3 on Friday night.

Soto stood at home plate and admired his 409-foot drive off Chris Devenski (0-1), which gave the Yankees a 5-1 lead. Soto is hitting .347 with five homers and 20 RBIs in his first season with the Yankees.

“I actually didn’t see that because I was admiring where it was going,” manager Aaron Boone said of Soto’s celebration. Of the five homers, I think that’s the first one he’s really, really stepped on like where is thing going to land. I was paying attention to that.”

New York is 5-0 when Soto homers. He is hitting .563 with three homers and 17 RBIs with runners in scoring position and his latest long ball propelled the Yankees to their seventh comeback win. Soto has reached base safely in 12 straight games and 18 of his first 20 with the Yankees.

“I’m just going to the plate with my plan: Just try to get a good pitch and try drive the ball to the outfield and try to get those guys in,” Soto said.

Soto also made a leaping catch at the right field wall to rob Richie Palacios of a possible homer for the final out of the third.

“Not very surprised,” Yankees starter Clarke Schmidt said of Soto. “It’s like every moment, it’s big games, or big ABs. He’s just a special player.”

Issac Paredes hit a two-run single in the eighth against Ian Hamilton, and Clay Holmes escaped trouble in the ninth for his eighth save in nine chances.

Former Yankee Ben Rortvedt and Yandy Díaz singled, and Randy Arozarena hit a pop fly to shallow center that just eluded Aaron Judge, who threw to third for a forceout while the teams wondered whether an infield fly had been called — it was not.

“Just a little confusion,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “It’s a tough call for the umpire. It looked like I think he thought he caught the ball originally.”

Palacios then lined to shortstop Anthony Volpe, who threw to Gleyber Torres to double up Jose Siri for a game-ending double play.

Dennis Santana (1-0) pitched 1 2/3 innings for his first win with the Yankees, who were outhit 14-5.

Palacios, who grew up a Yankees fan and attended Berkeley Carroll School in Brooklyn, homered off Schmidt for a 1-0 lead in the second.

With one out in the seventh, Alex Verdugo hit a grounder that went under second baseman Curtis Mead’s glove. Jose Trevino walked, and Oswaldo Cabrera’s grounded skipped over Díaz’s glove at first as the tying run scored. Volpe singled for a 2-1 lead.

“The ball took a pretty wicked hop on Yandy, two errors and a walk, you got those types of hitters coming up, they can make you pay and they did,” Cash said.

Tampa Bay starter Tyler Alexander allowed two hits in 5 1/3 scoreless innings. Schmidt gave up seven hits in 5 1/3 innings and threw a career-high 102 pitches.


Rays: OF Josh Lowe (strained right oblique) went 0 for 3 with a walk in his first minor league rehabilitation game for Triple-A Durham.

Yankees: INF DJ LeMahieu (bruised right foot) had the start of his rehab assignment possibly pushed back to next week after an MRI on Thursday showed he was not fully healed.… RHP Nick Burdi (right hip inflammation) was placed on the injured list after feeling pain during his outing Tuesday in Toronto. … RHP Cody Morris was recalled from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes Barre to replace Burdi and OF Taylor Trammell was added to the roster after being claimed off waivers Thursday.


Rays RHP Zach Eflin (1-2, 4.63 ERA) opposes New York LHP Nestor Cortes (1-1, 4.50) Saturday afternoon following a pregame ceremony to honor recently retired Yankees’ radio broadcaster John Sterling.


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