Urshela walk-off puts Yankees atop AL East

The Yankees enter the weekend after an off day against the leaders of the AL East, the Tampa Bay Rays.  CC Sabathia took the mound against the Rays’ opener, Ryne Stanek. Sabathia pitched a gem, only giving up six hits and one run through six innings.  The Yankees found themselves down in the bottom of the ninth by two runs, but clutch hitting from Luke Voit, Gary Sanchez, Gleyber Torres, and Gio Urshela saved the game.  The Bombers won a thriller, 4-3 over the Rays.

Photo Credit: Noah K. Murray/USA Today Sports



It was a quiet start to the game.  CC started strong and no Yankee in the lineup had been able to get good wood on a pitch from Ryne Stanek.  It remained quiet until Kendrys Morales woke up the stadium by turning on a 97 MPH fastball and put it into the cheap seats.   It was his first home run as a Yankee and it was an absolute bomb.  The 417-foot blast gave the Yanks a 1-0 lead after two.

Ryne Stanek was done after two and the Rays brought on their “chunk” guy in relief, Yonny Chirinos.  Chirinos averages an impressive 5 2/3 innings per game out of the bullpen.  Gio Urshela was able to drive a liner into the outfield, but that was about it.  The Yankees headed into the fourth inning with a one run lead, but that lead quickly vanished thanks to a leadoff home run by Tampa shortstop, Willy Adames.  CC gave up a couple more hard-hit balls, but no further damage on the scoreboard.  Tie ballgame headed into the bottom of the fourth.

CC pitched a great game, perhaps his best outing of the year.  He pitched six strong, gave up six hits, and only one run.  Unfortunately, his day ended with a no-decision as the Yankees could not get a run across the plate in the bottom of the sixth, even with Luke Voit’s one-out double.  The score remained 1-1 heading into the seventh.

Tommy Kahnle relieved CC in the seventh inning and was able to escape it unscathed, but Chad Green did not have the same luck in the eighth.  It was certainly a vote of confidence from manager Aaron Boone to give the ball to Green in such a pivotal moment of the game, but it backfired.  Green gave up an RBI double to Brandon Lowe.  Lowe then crossed the plate one batter later, on a throwing error from Gleyber Torres with two outs.  The ugly first half of the inning finally came to a close, but the damage was done, as Tampa was up 3-1 heading into the bottom of the eighth. 

Shortly thereafter, the rain came pouring down.  After about 35 minutes, the rain subsided, and play resumed.  The Yankees were down two runs and had their work cut out for them, but they went down 1-2-3.  The score remained 3-1 as the ninth inning began.

The bottom of the ninth began with a Luke Voit blast, sending the ball to Detroit. The clutch piece of hitting cut the Rays’ lead to just one run.  Gary Sanchez stepped to the plate next and roped a single to left.  Thairo Estrada came on as the pinch runner for Sanchez, representing the tying run.  After a Kendrys Morales strikeout, Gleyber Torres stepped to the plate and worked a really good at bat, laying off junk and fouling off anything that was close.  He finally got a good pitch to hit and hit a screamer to left field that was inches away from being a walk-off home run, as it wound up being a double. The Rays intentionally walked Clint Frazier to load up the bases with one out.  Thairo Estrada scored on a wild pitch in the next AB to Cameron Maybin.  Torres was then thrown out at home after a weak grounder from Maybin.  The score remained 3-3 as Gio Urshela stepped to the plate.  Gio’s amazing hot streak continued as he ripped a single to right-center.  It flew over Kevin Kiermaier’s head in center and landed safely for a walk-off single.  Ballgame over, Yankees win 4-3.

Article by: John Messina

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