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Bullpen Day Thrives, Yanks top Rays 4-1

Entering the last week of the regular season the Yankees opened a four-game set Monday night in the always dreaded trip to face the Tampa Bay Rays. The Yankees came into tonight sitting one and a half games (two in the loss column) above the Oakland A’s for home field advantage in the AL Wild Card game. Aaron Boone decided to go with a “bullpen day” tonight instead of giving the ball to a typical starter.

Happ dominates, offense breaks out in 7-2 win


Facing off against another measly team in the Twins, the Yanks took advantage of another great performance by deadline acquisition JA Happ and won the first game of the series with ease.  After each offense was quite silent the first five innings, the Yanks dominated to a 7-2 win.

Photo Credit: Jim Mone


JA Happ continued his dominance in pinstripes tonight, proving to be a legitimate option to start the AL Wild Card game for the Yanks. The eighth start in his Yankees career, Happ’s been just what the rotation has needed and pitched another phenomenal outing tonight. He’s now allowed two runs or fewer in six of his eight starts. Despite allowing six hits in six innings of work, Happ didn’t allow any damage as the Twins were scoreless against him. The left-hander didn’t walk any batters and struck out three, while being somewhat efficient in his six innings of work by throwing 91 pitches. Luis Cessa gave the Yanks some length with two innings but gave up four hits and two runs. Jonathan Holder came on and pitched a scoreless ninth inning.

The offense was quiet for both sides tonight at the pitcher-friendly ballpark of Target Field, as Gary Sanchez broke the scoreless tie with a clutch, much-needed 460-foot solo homer in the top of the sixth inning. El Kraken looked promising in this one, going 3-for-5 while falling a triple shy of the cycle. After back-to-back walks to start the seventh inning by Andrew McCutchen and Aaron Hicks, Miguel Andujar added to the Yankees lead with a two-run double making it 3-0. That was just the start of an offensive explosion by the Yankees offense in the seventh inning.



With still no one out, Giancarlo Stanton followed up Andujar with double of his own, knocking in the rookie and giving the Yanks a 4-0 lead. Didi Gregorius then proceeded to make it three consecutive doubles, this time knocking in Stanton. The first eight batters in the inning reached base before the Brett Gardner, batting ninth, struck out. They ended up getting two more runs in the inning via a Gleyber Torres RBI single and a sacrifice fly by McCutchen.

What’s Next?
Sonny Gray (10-8, 4.96 ERA) will get a spot start tomorrow, as he heads to the bump for game two facing off against Trevor May (4-1, 3.63 ERA) at 8:10 PM ET.

Article by: Spencer Schultz

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