Offense stalls out again as Rays take series
Coming off a strong win last night in which they got a complete game shutout from Masahiro Tanaka, the Yankees sought another series victory in this afternoon's matinee at Tropicana Field. Gleyber Torres returned to the lineup for the first time since our nation’s birthday, going 0–for-3 with a walk and making a few great defensive plays. Luis Cessa also returned to the team, making his first start in the rotation in place of the recently demoted Domingo German, pitching very economically with 74 pitches through 5.1 innings and only giving up 2 runs. The offense, on the other hand, gave the Yankee pitcher no help while facing the Rays’ bullpen for the third day in a row and once again, failed to capitalize on scoring opportunities in the ninth inning as the Rays took this one by a count of 3-2.
The first action of the game came in the top of the second inning when Neil Walker hit a sac fly to score Torres and give the Yankees the lead.
Kevin Kiermaier then followed up the scoring, hitting a two run home run off of Cessa in the bottom of the sixth. Cessa had been pitching very well leading up to the inning, retiring 11 straight batters before giving up a single to Adam Moore and then the Kiermaier home run. Cessa’s final line was 5.1 innings, 4 hits, 3 strikeouts, and 2 earned runs, which you would feel better about had that one bad changeup to Kiermaier not swayed the lead from Yankees by one, to Rays by one.
Later in the inning, Jonathan Holder surrendered what ended up being the game winning solo home run to C.J. Cron, which extended the Tampa Bay lead to 3-1. Giancarlo Stanton brought the Yankees to within one with a sac fly off of Sergio Romo to score Brett Gardner in the top of the eighth inning.
Drama occurred in the top of the ninth inning as Miguel Andujar reached on an infield single with one out. Aaron Hicks, who had pinch hit at DH for Walker earlier in the game, then grounds into what looks like it could be the game ending double play to second base. However, due to the shift the Rays had implemented for Hicks, third baseman Matt Duffy was covering second base and, trying to make a tough double-play exchange, dropped the ball and got no out altogether. Austin Romine pinch hit for Kyle Higashioka, popping out to first in foul territory. That brought up Brett Gardner with runners on first and second with two outs. Gardy worked the count full, but, with Aaron Judge on deck, swung at a bad Sergio Romo fastball out of the zone to end the game. It was a disappointing loss, but the Yanks look to figure things out, returning to the Bronx to face the Kansas City Royals.
Sonny Gray looks to build off of a solid outing against the Mets last weekend as the Bombers take on Jakob Junis and the Royals in what could be Zach Britton’s first game as a Yankee back at the stadium tomorrow night. First pitch at 7:05pm.
Recap by: Nick SimonelliFollow @nicksims14 Follow @BronxBomberBall