The Red Sox-Yankees rivalry may have been downplayed by New York pitcher Nestor Cortes Jr. prior to Friday night’s series opener between the two clubs, but there is an individual battle percolating over the past two seasons.

Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers has more hits against Yankees pitcher Gerrit Cole than any other hitter in the big leagues. In 33 career at-bats against Cole, Devers has nine hits, including seven home runs.

Cole spoke with reporters after the Red Sox defeated the Yankees in the opener of the three-game set about Devers being able to hit the long ball against him.

“I haven’t thought very many times it’s been a really bad pitch,” Cole said as seen on NESN’s postgame coverage. “Raffy seems to let me know otherwise. So pretty good pitch, well executed but better swing.”

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With the solo shot off Cole, Devers joins an elite group of batters to hit 10 dingers at Yankee Stadium before the age of 27, according to Red Sox senior manager of media relations and baseball information J.P. Long. Devers matched Babe Ruth’s 10 and eclipsed the nine launched by Ted Williams. The Red Sox left-handed slugger turns 27 in October.

Even with his success against Cole, Devers doesn’t take anything for granted when the righty takes the mound for New York.

“He’s not an easy pitcher to face and to be honest, I’m glad I’ve been able to hit off him,” Devers said through Red Sox translator Carlos Villoria Benitez, as seen on NESN’s postgame coverage. “He’s very good and he’s not an easy pitcher to face.”

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Devers added that he doesn’t change anything about his stance or swing when he approaches the plate to face Cole.

“It’s the same routine, the same focus to win against any other pitcher or team,” Devers said. “It just happens that I have good numbers and good hits against him but it’s nothing I change or do anything special when we face the Yankees.”

Featured image via John Jones/USA TODAY Sports Images