Anthony Rizzo stole the show with his incredible performance in an exciting matchup between the New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays on May 12, 2023. The Yankees’ first baseman homered twice on his bobblehead giveaway night, with his second long ball being a crucial two-run drive in the eighth inning that lifted the Yankees to a thrilling 6-5 victory.
Rizzo’s bobblehead, which featured him dressed as a Mandalorian character on “Star Wars” Night, seemed to bring him good luck. He kicked off the scoring with a solo homer in the first inning against the Rays’ Trevor Kelly. However, his go-ahead home run in the eighth inning, after the Rays had taken a 5-4 lead, proved to be the game-changer. With Aaron Judge on base after drawing a walk, Rizzo smashed a home run to right field. He watched the ball soar over the fence, then gracefully acknowledged the cheering crowd with a curtain call—this marked Rizzo’s 22nd multi-homer game of his career.
When asked about his affinity for “Star Wars,” Rizzo smiled and admitted, “I am now.”
As the game concluded and the familiar tune of “New York, New York” filled the stadium, a tribute to the beloved franchise appeared on the center-field video board: Yoda’s image accompanied by the words, “News spreading, you start.”
Rizzo’s outstanding performance delighted the fans and solidified his position as a leader of the Yankees. He currently leads the team with eight home runs and 20 RBI. Manager Aaron Boone praised Rizzo’s consistent presence in the lineup, emphasizing his ability to deliver in clutch moments.
While Rizzo stole the spotlight, other players significantly contributed to the Yankees’ victory. Rookie Anthony Volpe, who had been struggling at the plate with a 7-for-53 slump, was moved down to the seventh spot in the lineup. However, he tied the game 2-2 with a fifth-inning home run and later provided the go-ahead RBI single in the seventh inning. Oswaldo Cabrera’s run-scoring single extended the lead to 4-2.
On the defensive side, Wandy Peralta showcased his skills by earning his first save of the season. Peralta struck out two batters in a one-hit ninth inning to secure the win for the Yankees. Notably, Rays manager Kevin Cash made a strategic move by sending Manuel Margot to pinch-hit for Josh Lowe, who had performed exceptionally well in the series. Margot grounded out, allowing Peralta to preserve the Yankees’ lead.
Gerrit Cole, the Yankees’ ace right-hander, had a challenging outing, surrendering home runs to Randy Arozarena and Jose Siri in the first two innings. This marked the second time Cole had given up multiple homers to the Rays this year. Arozarena, Siri, and Lowe playfully flexed their biceps and exchanged grins with the Rays’ dugout following their home runs.
The game was exciting as fans were treated to a “Star Wars” extravaganza before the first pitch. Characters from the iconic movie franchise paraded around the field, accompanied by Meco’s “Star Wars Theme/Cantina Band.” Rizzo sported a W-wing pilot outfit, while Rays players were dressed as Stormtroopers, adding to the festive spirit of the event.
In terms of roster updates, the Rays faced some challenges with injuries. Right-handed pitcher Drew Rasmussen was placed on the 60-day injured list due to a right flexor strain. Rasmussen had delivered an impressive performance against the Yankees the previous day, but he experienced nerve discomfort in his right arm during his final pitch. Hoping to avoid Tommy John’s surgery, Rasmussen expressed optimism about his recovery. The Rays called up Chris Muller from Triple-A Charlotte to fill the void left by Rasmussen’s absence. Additionally, the team made some moves on the pitching front, claiming Zack Littell off waivers from Boston and transferring Garrett Cleavinger to the 60-day injured list due to a right knee injury. Meanwhile, Chase Anderson, who had been with the Rays, was claimed off waivers by the Colorado Rockies.
Despite the Yankees’ victory, the team still finds themselves at the bottom of the American League East, trailing the Rays by eight games. Manager Aaron Boone acknowledged his team’s challenges but commended their competitive spirit and resilience. The Yankees have endured setbacks and injuries throughout the season but continue to fight and find ways to win.
Overall, the game between the New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays on May 12, 2023, provided fans with an exciting display of skill and determination. Anthony Rizzo’s remarkable performance, including his two home runs, was pivotal in the Yankees’ victory. With the “Star Wars” theme resonating throughout the stadium, Rizzo and his teammates delivered an entertaining and gutsy win, showcasing the team’s unwavering spirit. As the season progresses, the Yankees and the Rays will continue to compete fiercely in their pursuit of success.