ST. SAINT PETERSBURG — The campaign has begun. Jose Trevino ventured an eighth-inning home run on Wednesday night to give the Yankees a 5-4 victory over the Rays at Tropicana Field, Aaron Boone and Aaron Judge drumming. Trevino should be one of the Yankees’ many stars.
“Oh, without a doubt. What he’s doing this year is special,” said Judge, whose two home runs also hit the Yankees on Wednesday. “I think he will continue to do this for a few more years, and I think he has earned the right to go to Los Angeles this year and represent the Yankees and represent the elite.”
“I know there are a lot of great catchers in the league and especially the one we just finished with, Alejandro Kirk of the Blue Jays is another great player in this league,” Judge continued, “but I think he definitely [has] he was offered this opportunity and he is taking full advantage of it.”
The Yankees (51-18) are now 14-4 after losses this season, winning their 18th series of the season and their second in a row over the Rays (37-32). They are 26-12 against the American League East. They have the best record in baseball and have completed a six-game trip 4-2.
The judge, who has an arbitration hearing Friday morning to determine his 2022 salary, convinced the Yankees that Trevino could make a difference. On Wednesday night, he scored his major league leaders with a 26th and 27th-place finish.
It was his sixth multi-home run game of the season and the 22nd of his career. Six multi-home run games in a team’s first 70 games are the second most in baseball history, according to ESPN Stats and Info. Only Reggie Jackson’s seven in 1969 is better.
The referee’s first homer was Shane Baz’s 396-foot throw in the fourth inning. His second was a majestic 406-foot podium home run at The Trop in seventh, cutting the Rays’ lead to a run.
The arbitration hearing is over $4 million difference. Judge wanted $21 million, the Yankees offered $17 million. The Bombers did offer the referee an extension that would have cost more than $230 million including this season, but they were unable to reach an agreement before his opening day deadline.
Homer Trevino was the clutch.
It was his third successful home run in the eighth inning or later in the season, making him the best teammate with Anthony Rizzo. A double throw from 406 feet gave the Yankees their first lead of the night and their 20th comeback win of the season.
It was Trevino’s sixth career home run in 113 at-bats this season, one more than his total of 285 at-bats for all of last year.
It’s not just his crime.
Trevino has played a key role in the Yankees’ pitching success this season. On Wednesday night, he pulled Jordan Montgomery out of a bases-laden jam by picking up Taylor Walls at third base.
“This choice really helped me,” Montgomery said. “He was amazing. He’s great off the plate, works great with him and he always wins on offense.”
Montgomery just wasn’t smart to begin with, but due to concerns about their use in the bullpen, they had to skate with him for as long as they could. The Yankee left-hander allowed a season-high four runs while recording a streak of 13 consecutive starts of three earned runs or fewer. He gave up two home runs, the first time he hit multiple homers in a game this season. He walked two and struck out the low season, tying two.
Montgomery received seven hits and misses, four of them on a change and none on a fastball.
“I thought he made some good passes tonight. We were a little unlucky, but I was just trying to help them. [third baseman Josh Donaldson] and we did it,” Trevino said. “So it was good.
The All-Star nod will be the first in Trevino. In the first All-Star voting report, Trevino comes in second, but well behind Kirk.
“I mean, if it happens, it will happen,” Trevino said of his All-Star appearance. “I want to win the championship and it’s quite individual. An all-star game would be great, but I want to win the championship.”