The New York Yankees got a much needed extra-inning win against their recent nemesis Tampa Bay Rays. Narrowly avoiding the sweep, the Yankee bats finally broke through in the 10th. The dungeon they call Tropicana Field has been a house of horrors for the Yankees the past few years. The Yankees were just 2-8 against the Rays overall last season. Salvaging the final game of the series improves the Yankees record to 4-5 and puts an end to a three-game losing streak. The Yankees avoided the demoralization of a sweep at the hands of the team that eliminated them in the 2020 postseason, but it still feels like the Rays have the Yankees number.
It was shaping up to be another frustrating game for the Yankees; they squandered many opportunities with runners in scoring position. Aaron Hicks and DJ LeMahieu both grounded into double plays with the bases loaded. To add to the blunders, in the 9th, Brett Gardner got caught in a rundown between third and home and the Yankees failed to score.
The Yankees were trailing by one in the 8th before finally getting a clutch single from Gleyber Torres to tie it at 4. Then in the 10th they managed to get 3 straight 2-out hits to open up the game at 8-4. The first of those 2-out hits came from the newest Yankee Rougned Odor, who blooped an RBI single into center field to break the 4-4 tie. The next two came from Gary Sanchez and Gio Urshela to score 3 more runs.
Tough Start for Monty, Bullpen Continues to Impress
Jordan Montgomery looked to build on his impressive 6 shutout innings against the Baltimore Orioles in his first start of the season. Things did not go Montgomery’s way early: he gave up 2 run shots in both the 2nd and 3rd inning to Mike Zunino and Randy Arozarena respectively. He settled down after that, though, pitching a scoreless 4th and 5th inning. He was removed from the game after giving up a walk to Mike Brosseau to lead off the inning. It was overall a poor start for the Yankee left hander. At least he kept his team in the game, exiting when the Yankees only trailed by 1 run.
Montgomery caused tensions to flare when he hit Austin Meadows in the 1st. The umpires, hoping to quell any renewal of the beanball wars that the Rays and Yankees engaged in over the past few seasons, issued warnings to both sides. When Montgomery hit Meadows again in the 5th there was a moment when it looked like Montgomery may have been ejected. However, the umpires deemed the pitch unintentional.
The Rays sent out Brent Honeywell Jr. to make his major league debut as the opener. The 26 year old and once top prospect has had to deal with many injuries and setbacks on his way to the majors. Honeywell mowed down the first 6 Yankees and the Rays went to Michael Wacha as the bulk pitcher in the 3rd.
The Yankees bullpen was fantastic again, keeping the Yankees in the game as they continued to waste opportunities. Chad Green, Darren O’Day, Aroldis Chapman, and the just called up Albert Abreu combined for 5 shutout innings of relief. Abreu’s stuff was particularly nasty in his season debut. He touched 99 MPH on his fastball and featured a sharp slider.
Some Quick Yankees Notes
Urshela had four hits, including a 2-run home run in the second. Hicks continues to struggle, wasting valuable at bats after Aaron Judge and LeMahieu get on base. Gardner got his second straight start over Clint Frazier, creating a narrative to follow going forward.
Perhaps the most important thing, besides the Yankees win, is that Aaron Judge continues to look healthy after missing two games earlier in the week. The Yankees will certainly need Judge as they head to Dunedin for a 3-game set with the Toronto Blue Jays. Games down in St. Pete never seem to go the Yankees way. The Yankees will have to settle for just one win. However, if this team wants to achieve their ultimate goal, they are going to have to find a way to consistently beat the Rays.