Anthony Volpe’s small-ball display, baserunning propel Yankees

Anthony Volpe’s small-ball display, baserunning propel Yankees

It was a sequence out of another era that helped the Yankees surge to a 9-8 victory over the Rays on Saturday afternoon.

Anthony Volpe didn’t just put on a display of small-ball, but also showed off the kind of baserunning clinic that is no longer seen in baseball.

The Yankees trailed the Rays 6-4 when Volpe opened the sixth inning with a bunt single, perfectly placed along the third-base line.

He stole second base, then swiped third.

Finally, he scored on a wild pitch, coming around from first base only with his own legs.

“That’s what it’s about,” Aaron Judge said. “Especially with this team being a little banged up, we got some guys who are a little more versatile. We gotta take that to our advantage. Especially seeing Volpe go out there and lay a bunt down.”

Volpe set the table for the Yankees to complete the comeback and hang on to defeat the Rays in one of their best victories of the young season.

Anthony Volpe lays down a bunt single during the sixth inning of the Yankees’ 9-8 comeback win over the Rays.
Paul J. Bereswill

Just a day after he responded to a drop to seventh in the batting order with a home run, the rookie shortstop and center of attention sparked the turning point.

While the two hitters behind him in the sixth made outs, Volpe kept the inning alive and got a run on the board and set up the Yankees’ big inning.

After a walk to Gleyber Torres, Judge followed with a go-ahead two-run home run and Oswaldo Cabrera singled in two more runs before the inning ended.

Those two runs, by the way, started with another bunt single from Anthony Rizzo after Judge’s homer.

“I was definitely inspired by him,” Rizzo said jokingly.

Volpe on Saturday became the first Yankee to start his career with 13 straight successful stolen bases — the sort of random number that hints at something meaningful.

“Those are energy plays, you’re kind of scratching a little bit,” manager Aaron Boone said. “Those are the plays that really get guys excited, too. And I think even Rizz was feeding off that, wanted to keep that high going a little bit. He dropped one down, too.

Anthony Volpe steals second base during the sixth inning of the Yankees' victory.
Anthony Volpe steals second base during the sixth inning of the Yankees’ victory.
Paul J. Bereswill

“They’re important plays not only in the game for Anthony, but to have that in his bag, teams have to respect that. That opens up the field for you.”

Indeed, on Saturday, Rays reliever Ryan Thompson started to labor after Volpe got on. By the end of the sixth, the Yankees had chased Thompson and put up that pivotal five-spot.

“[Volpe] kind of was bouncing around at first, bouncing around at second a little bit,” Judge said. “He gets on the basepath, the catcher’s alert, the pitcher’s alert, the defense is watching him. It keeps everyone on their toes.”


Rachel Meadows

Rachel Meadows

Trending topics news writer who enjoys cooking, walking her dog and travel.