Yankees Take the Night Cap Against The Rays
By winning the first game today, the Rays have vanquished the New York Yankees plans to embarrass us again with a sweep in the 3 game series. As you might remember, before the All-Star break, we came inot the Bronx and were tossed around a bit before leaving town for Boston and getting kicked a few more times up there.
Today starts a streak where the Rays will be playing 16 games in 15 days, with another doubleheader planned for the last series in Baltimore on Tuesday, September 23rd. With boston losing the first game to Toronto today, it puts the Rays back up 2 games above the Boston Red Sox. It also reduces the Rays number to make it into the playoff to 9 games.
Rays Magic Number: 14
This is the combined number of Rays wins and Boston losses to secure their first A L East Crown.
During the early parts of this second game in the doubleheader against the New York Yankees, Rays starter, Matt Garza did not look comfortable on the mound . Garza’s focus was not great tonight and it got him in early trouble against the Yankees. Garza led off the game by walking Brett Gardner on 4 pitches. Derek Jeter then came up and set down a sacrifice bunt in front of the plate that was handled by Garza. Garza threw a low throw to first that was scooped by Carlos Pena for the force out, but the play moved Gardner into scoring position at second base.
He then walked Bobby Abreu on 6 pitches to put men on the corners for the Yankees. After a Garza balk moved both men into scoring position, Alex Rodriguez hit a sacrifice fly to centerfield that Fernando Perez had to make a leaping catch for the out. Gardner tagged up at third base and scored to put the Yankees up 1-0. For the night, Garza went 5 innings and gave up 6-hits for 3-runs. He threw 83 pitches on the night. Garza’s lack of control got him an equal 3 walks and 3 strikeouts in the game.
The night did not turn out any better for the Rays in the 2nd innig as Ben Zobrist lost a Robinson Cano looper down the leftfield line to lead off the inning. Cano did not harm the Rays in that inning, getting stranded on second to end the inning.
During the 4th inning, Wilson Betemit hit a Garza 2-seamer to rightfield for a solo shot to pull the Yankees within 2 runs of the Rays, 4-2. Garza seemed still upset about the homer as he pitched to Ivan Rodriguez. Rodriguez then singled to left on the first pitch from Garza.
During Cody Ransom’s at bat, Rays catcher Dioner Navarro tried to throw out Rodriguez stealing second, but threw the ball to the right of Akinora Iwamura and into centerfield. Rodriguez advanced to third on the throwing error by Navarro. Rodrigues scored on a Brett Gardner grounder to second to put the Yankees within one run 4-3.
In the top of the 4th inning, the Rays scored 4 runs and went ahead of the Yankees 4-1. Navarro lead off the inning by walking on 6 pitches. Gabe Gross the hit a liner to rightfield for a single and put Navarro in scoring position at second base. Perez then hit into a 1-4 play to force Gross out at second base.
Akinora Iwamura then walked on 4 pitches to load the bases for the Rays. Ben Zobrist then came up with the bases loaded. Zobrist then hit a 1-2 pitch for his 8th homer of the year, and his seond Grand Slam of the season. Zobrist hit a Grand Slam on August 29th against the Baltimore Orioles in the 4th inning of that contest.
J P Howell came on to pitch in the bottom of the 6th inning and put the Yankees down 1-2-3 in the inning. In the 7th inning, the Rays began to unravel a bit behind Howell when Jeter reached on a infield single to third that Aybar could not handle. The next batter, Bobby Abreu, hit a ball to Zobrist at short that Zobrist threw towards the second base side of the bag and beyond the reach of Iwamura. The ball went sailing into rightfield and Gabe Gross was given an error on his over running of the ball in rightfield.
Jeter ended up scoring on the overthrow and Abreu advanced to second on Gross’s outfield mistake. This put Abreu in scoring position, and the Yankees and the Rays were tied 4-all at this point. Carlos Pena then went for a foul ball on the firstbaseline near the infield tarp and appeared to have the catch before falling in between the tarp and the stadium wall and losing the ball out of his glove.
Abreu moved to third on a wild pitch by Grant Balfour during Xavier Nady’s at bat. Nady then hit a ball up the middle and scored Abreu from third to give the Yankees a 5-4 lead in the game. Robinson Cano then came up and hit the bag at third and it settles near the foul line for another double in the inning. Betemit then struck out swinging to end the inning for the Yankees.
The Yankees then got an insurance run in the 8th inning off Rays reliever Chad Bradford. Cody Ransom reached base on a infield single to shortstop that Zobrist could not get to first in time for the out. Gardner then hit into a fielder’s choice, taking out Ransom at second base. Gardner then stole second on the 2nd pitch to Jeter. Jeter ended up walking on 6 pitches and set up men at second and first for Abreu. Abreu then hit a blooper single to rightfield thast scored Gardner and put the Yankees up for good, 6-4.
The Rays came out in the top of the 9th against Mariano Riveria and gave a valiant effort to tie this contest. Gabe Gross lead off the inning with a single to leftfield. Gross ended up going 3-3 on the night for the Rays. Fernando Perez then popped out on a bunt single to the pitcher for the first out.
In 3 innings tonight, the Rays Bullpen gave up 3 runs on 5 hits, and only one of those runs was a earned run tonight. In his 1.2 innings, Howell did the most damage tonight by getting 4 strikeouts in the game. It is one of the first times in a while that the Rays Bullpen did not hold the lead for the Rays.
Aki then struck out on three pitches before Evan Longoria came up as a pinch-hitter for Zobrist. Longoria hit a RBI single to rightfield, scoring Gross and pulling the Rays within 1 run, 6-5. Justin Ruggiano then hit into a 6-3 force out to ends the game for the Rays.