Lucas Duda didn’t lose any time acclimating to American League competition this week. Following his trade to the Rays on Thursday, he recorded his first home run with Tampa Bay during his debut on Friday night, taking Masahiro Tanaka deep in the seventh inning for the team’s first and only run of their 7-1 loss. On Saturday, he did it again, crushing a 2-0 pitch from David Robertson into the second deck of Yankee Stadium to tie the game 4-4 in the eighth.
Duda entered Saturday with a modest .247/.347/.541 batting line, 18 home runs and an .888 OPS through 294 PA. He’s made a good-faith effort to return to a starting role after getting sidelined with a lower back stress fracture last year, though he has yet to match the 27-homer, .250-average output of previous seasons. Following his blast off of Robertson, Duda’s 19 home runs rank third-most among Rays’ players, tied with Corey Dickerson and trailing only Logan Morrison (26 HR) and Steven Souza Jr. (21 HR).
Duda went 1-for-1 on Saturday with a home run, two walks and a sac fly. The Rays couldn’t capitalize on his knock in the eighth, however, and remain tied 4-4 with the Yankees in the bottom of the ninth.