Game Three: Yanks 4 Rays 3
ST. PETERSBURG — All the Yankees had to do on Wednesday to stop their nine-game losing streak at Tropicana Field was wait.
Mark Teixeira had to wait for the one mistake made by Rays starter David Price. The Rays left-hander was as good as most of the Yankees had seen him, and manager Joe Girardi didn’t hesitate to say he had no-hit stuff.
The heart of New York’s order had to wait on Tampa Bay reliever Kyle Farnsworth, who walked four batters in one-third of an inning and eventually coughed up the lead.
And perhaps, Girardi joked, the Yankees had to wait to take a late-game lead, as jumping out to early leads hadn’t worked while the Yankees dropped nine straight under the Rays’ dome. So the Yankees waited, and they got a much-needed 4-3 win over the Rays before an Independence Day crowd of 28,033. With the win, New York avoided a series sweep and will head into this weekend’s four-game series against the Red Sox in Boston on a high note.
“Just a tremendous win for us,” Girardi said. “This has been a tough place the first half of the season for us. To come back, maybe that’s the key. We shouldn’t get ahead early.”
It looked like the Rays were well on their way to making it 10 straight losses for the Yankees at The Trop when Carlos Pena launched a two-run homer off Boone Logan into the right-field stands, putting Tampa Bay ahead, 3-1, in the seventh — especially after New York missed a prime scoring opportunity in the top half of the inning.
But David Robertson pitched a clean eighth inning — a welcome experience for him after admittedly blowing Monday’s game, a 4-3 loss — and Tampa Bay relieved Price with Farnsworth, a righty.
Farnsworth walked leadoff batter Eric Chavez and struck out Derek Jeter, then issued free passes to Curtis Granderson and Teixeira to load the bases. Alex Rodriguez then walked on six pitches, bringing in Chavez and trimming the Rays’ lead to one run.
“I wasn’t getting ahead of them, first off, on strike one, which obviously was huge,” Farnsworth said. “They’re going to sit on their one pitch, and they’re not going to swing. … It’s all on me for not throwing strikes.”
Girardi added that it’s not always easy for hitters to leave the bat on their shoulder when a pitcher is throwing so many balls, especially when they could just as easily hit their way back into the game.
“We’ve got guys who can change the complexion of the game with one swing,” Girardi said. “But they remained patient, and I give them a lot of credit.”
Robinson Cano took care of things from there, knocking a two-run single to center field off left-hander Jake McGee — who relieved Farnsworth — to give the Yankees the lead. The hit also gave Cano eight straight games with at least one RBI…...Read More
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Game Two: Rays 7 Yanks 4
ST. PETERSBURG — On a night when the Rays got some clutch hitting, Tuesday’s game against the Yankees boiled down to whether the pitching could get the job done once provided a lead.
Given the way their pitching has performed all season, the result was no surprise, as the Rays earned a 7-4 win at Tropicana Field with 26,453 watching.
The win improved the Rays’ record to 43-38, pulling them within 5 1/2 games of the first-place Yankees in the American League East. David Price will have a chance to complete a sweep on Wednesday afternoon at 3:10 ET, facing rookie David Phelps.
“We were 7 1/2 back going in, and we’re 5 1/2 back now,” said James Shields, who started and picked up his eighth win of the season. “We still have a long season to go. It’s nice to win these first two here, and we’ve got our man on the mound tomorrow, and hopefully we can get the sweep.”
Entering the fourth inning, the Rays had already mounted a three-run charge to tie the game at 3, and they took a 5-4 lead an inning later, in the fourth, thanks to Sean Rodriguez’s sixth home run of the season. The drive came in timely fashion off Yankees starter Ivan Nova, who has given the Rays fits in the past.
“To get the lead was great,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said. “To come back — Nova has been so good against us. We have not played well against Nova, and he looked like he had that same thing going on. But finally, we had a breakthrough there with the three runs, and they happened to scratch one out.
“The home run really put it back in our court, and Shieldsy ran with it after that. … But getting back on top and staying on top was big. I believe we have the pitching staff and bullpen to do that. Whenever we grab a lead late, we feel like we can win the game.”
Shields scuffled in the early innings, but he went to the mound with a 5-4 lead to start the top of the fifth, which began with a Dewayne Wise single. At that point, one couldn’t help but wonder if the lead would flip once again.
Derek Jeter sacrificed Wise to second before a Curtis Granderson groundout moved the potential tying run to third with Alex Rodriguez stepping to the plate. But Shields got Rodriguez to roll one over to shortstop to escape the inning after just 10 pitches.
The sixth inning brought even more tension when Robinson Cano led off with a single. One out later, Raul Ibanez doubled to right, and what followed looked like something right out of the Spalding Guide for how to play the game.
Right fielder Ben Zobrist threw a strike to the second baseman, Rodriguez, who made the relay to Jose Molina. The Rays catcher applied the tag for the second out. Ibanez moved to third on the play, but Shields retired Eric Chavez on a groundout to third to end the inning.
“[Molina's] tag was great,” Maddon said. “J-Mo just dove in with the ball and glove, dove at the feet, makes the play. Out. That was a very big moment in tonight’s game.”
Rodriguez called the play “textbook.”….Read More
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Game One: Rays 4 Yanks 3
ST. PETERSBURG — Finally, the shoe found the other foot for the Rays on Monday night.
After struggling all weekend to do anything right against the Tigers, the Rays got to see the opposition have to wear a mistake. That came in the form of an error by four-time Gold Glove Award-winning first baseman MarkTeixeira that proved to be the difference in a 4-3 Rays win over the Yankees at Tropicana Field with 21,742 watching.
The Rays moved to 42-38 with the win and pulled within 6 1/2 games of the first-place Yankees in the American League East standings while remaining unbeaten at home against New York this season at 4-0.
Trailing, 3-2, with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, the Rays sprung to life when pinch-hitter Brooks Conrad doubled off Dave Robertson to drive home Sean Rodriguez and tie the score at 3. Elliot Johnson then ripped a ball to Teixeira, who couldn’t make the play, allowing Conrad to score the go-ahead run and Johnson to reach third.
“What it looked like to me, I thought it was going to hit the base, and I think he thought the same exact thing,” Johnson said. “Obviously, the man’s won some Gold Gloves, so his not [making the play] shows that it was a pretty challenging play. But you expect him to make it, and I thought it was going to hit the base and kick.”
Teixeira had no excuses.
“I really don’t know [what happened],” Teixeira said. “Usually, you can say, ‘I charged it when I should’ve laid back’ or ‘I laid back when I should’ve charged it.’ I just missed it. I don’t know what happened. The ball obviously didn’t do what I expected it to do.”
The fielding woes were not exclusive to the Yankees. The Rays dealt with their own issues early in the game, even though what clearly were miscues were classified as hits.
Matt Moore started for the Rays and felt the brunt of those plays. The manner in which he negotiated the first two innings, allowing just two runs, could be classified as a feat just short of heroic.
Derek Jeter opened the game with a double to center and moved to third on Curtis Granderson’s groundout. Teixeira then hit a fly ball to shallow right field. Hideki Matsui appeared to be camped under the ball before lunging to his right at the last moment, missing the ball as it fell to the artificial turf for a double.
Jeter scored on the play and Teixeira later scored on a single by Robinson Cano. Nick Swisher then grounded into a 6-4-3 inning-ending double play…..Read More
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