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Series Preview: New York Yankees vs. Tampa Bay Rays (7/23-7/25)

Following their rain-shortened two-game series split against the Mets at home this past weekend, the Yankees head down South for three days to face the Rays in Tampa Bay.  Tropicana Field has, in a way, been a house of horrors for New York, having gone just 4-9 at The Trop since the beginning of 2017 including an ugly three-game sweep just a month ago. The Yankees will begin play today at 63-34, five full games behind the first place Red Sox.  Tampa Bay comes in at 50-49, 19 games out of first and 9.5 games back of Seattle for the second Wild Card position. With trade rumors swirling for both squads and the teams headed in opposite directions, this series provides a key opportunity for the Yankees to get back on track and put pressure on Boston to once again close up the AL East race.

Tanaka, baby bombers blank Mariners in series finale

The Yankees opened the scoring in the first inning when Gary Sanchez, as predicted, launched a solo bomb into the second deck for his ninth home run in his first 21 games, marking another Yankee record. In the bottom of the first inning Tanaka had a clean one-two-three inning after Aaron Judge threw out former Yankee Robinson Cano out trying to leg out a double to end the frame.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
In the second inning the Baby Bombers continued to rake as Tyler Austin singled in Aaron Judge to extend the lead to 2-0, snapping an 0-16 skid for the youngster. In the top of the fourth inning, the Yankees extended their lead to 3-0 when birthday boy Brett Gardner hit a sacrifice fly to right field scoring Aaron Hicks. In the top of the seventh inning Mark Teixeira dunks a RBI single into left field to score Gardner to extend the Yankee lead to 4-0. The Yankees tacked on another insurance run in the top of the ninth inning when Starlin Castro drove in Brett Gardner on a sacrifice fly to left field.

Photo Credit: Kathy Kmonicek | AP

Tanaka kept the streak of good Yankee starting pitching as he allowed no runs in six innings pitched to go along with three strikeouts on 106 pitches. Tyler Clippard was brought in the eighth inning and pitch two thirds of an inning allowing two hits and picking up a strikeout. Dellin Betances was brought in to finish the eighth inning by striking out pinch hitter Mike Zunino. Betances went on to close out the game by throwing a perfect ninth while picking up two strikeouts.

The Yankees will have an off day tomorrow as they travel back home to take on the Orioles for a tthree game series. Both starting pitchers are to be determined.

Win: Masahiro Tanaka (7.0 IP, 6 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5K)
Loss: Hisashi Iwakuma (6.0 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 3 K)

Gary Sanchez: 2-3, HR (9), 2B, 2 IBB
Mark Teixeira: 1-3, RBI
Brett Gardner: 1-3, R, RBI, BB
Aaron Hicks: 2-4, R
Tyler Austin: 1-4, RBI
Nori Aoki: 2-4, 2B
Leonys Martin: 2-3, SB
Robinson Cano: 2-4

Article by: Julian Bussells

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