OJTB: New York Yankees drop rubber game to Tampa Bay Rays, 5-1
On the strength of the Yankees’ 9-3 win over the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday afternoon, New York had a chance to win the series in Sunday’s finale. Alas, it was not to be. The Yankees (16-14) struggled offensively as the Rays (15-17) earned a 5-1 win.
New York’s batters failed to attain clutch hits against both LHP Erik Bedard and the Tampa bullpen. The Yankees went 0-10 with runners in scoring position on the afternoon, and they finished the series a dismal 4-33 (.121) in such situations.
Surrendering just a single run over 6-plus innings, Bedard (1-1; 4.35 ERA) earned his first win in his last 16 starts. He had gone 0-9 in 15 starts since winning a 4-3 decision for the Houston Astros against the St. Louis Cardinals on June 26, 2013.
LHP CC Sabathia struggled for the Bombers. Over 3.2 innings, Sabathia (3-4; 5.75 ERA) surrendered five runs on 10 hits. He walked one and struck out three. The southpaw showed an occasional good sinker and changeup, but these strong points were overshadowed by the five booming extra base hits he surrendered. The last of these knocks, a RBI double by RF Wil Myers with two outs in the fourth inning, ended Sabathia’s afternoon.
RHP Alfredo Aceves saved the Yankees’ bullpen in his season debut. Called up from the minors to replace RHP Chris Leroux following New York’s 14-inning loss in Friday’s series opener, Aceves hurled shutout ball on five strikeouts over the final 5.1 innings on Sunday. Aceves previously went 14-1 with a 3.21 ERA for the Yankees in 59 appearances between 2008 and 2010; he spent the last three seasons as a member of the Boston Red Sox.
Tampa Bay wasted little time in taking a 1-0 lead. After 3B Logan Forsythe commenced the contest with a double to left, CF Desmond Jennings sacrificed Forsythe to third, and DH Evan Longoria drove home the game’s first run with a ground rule double to right field.
The Yankees knotted the contest, 1-1, in the second inning on 2B Yangervis Solarte’s sacrifice fly, but the Rays would quickly respond in dramatic fashion. With two on in the third, Myers afforded the visitors a 4-1 lead with a three-run inside-the-park homerun. The ball hit the top of the right-centerfield wall and was redirected towards right field after deflecting off the body of CF Jacoby Ellsbury.
1) Myers’ inside-the-park dinger was the first against the Yankees since then-Detroit Tigers’ CF Curtis Granderson hit one versus RHP Phil Hughes in a 5-4 Tigers’ triumph at Comerica Park on Aug. 26, 2007. It was also the first inside-the-park homerun for an opponent at the new Yankee Stadium, which opened in 2009. Brett Gardner hit the park’s first inside-the-park homer in the seventh inning of a 5-4 win over the Minnesota Twins on May 15, 2009.
2) Myers now has four homeruns this season. They’ve all come against the Yankees.
3) After attaining an amazing seven hits in 10 at bats over the series’ first two games, Ellsbury went 0-4 on Sunday.
The Yankees will now embark on a six-game road trip, which begins with a three-game set against the Angels. With RHP Michael Pineda going on the 15-day Disabled List with a teres major muscle strain, RHP David Phelps (0-0; 3.86 ERA) will start Monday’s series opener for New York against Angels’ RHP Jered Weaver (2-2; 4.00 ERA).