BRONX, N.Y. — It was a sellout crowd at Yankee Stadium on Monday afternoon for the New York Yankees home opener against the Tampa Bay Rays. Michael Pineda dominated Rays’ hitters over 7.2 strong innings and the Yanks won 8-1.
After advancing to first on a dropped third strike, Brett Gardner scored on a Jacoby Ellsbury double to open up the scoring in the third inning. Rays starting pitcher Alex Cobb made few mistakes, but the Yankees capitalized on the pitches he left over the heart of the zone.
Cobb fired 7.1 solid innings while striking out six, but did allow four, costly, earned runs. The second run that the Rays starter allowed came on a home run by Aaron Judge in the bottom of the fourth inning. The big right fielder sent a towering shot to left field that came off of his bat at 110 mph.
But the story of the day was all about Yankees’ pitcher Michael Pineda. The Tampa Bay hitters were left dumb founded at the plate because of Pineda’s lethal slider.
Yankee stadium grew ferocious and tense as the innings eked on. Pineda sat alone in the dugout trying to keep himself composed, but he knew he was on the verge of history. Pineda had two outs in the sixth inning when Evan Longoria hit an apropos double down the left field line to break up the perfect game. Pineda set down 11 batters and only allowed two hits on the day, the big one being a solo home run off the bat of Logan Morrison in the top of the eighth inning.
Before Longoria broke up Pineda perfecto, he had been 6 for 37 with 14Ks against him
Before the game, Austin Romine told YES Network’s Jack Curry, “Pineda works really hard and wants to be great.” Romine added, “I want to try and get [Mike] to throw more of his changeup.” The changeup was very effective and it kept Tampa hitters off balance all day.
The Yankees improved to 3-4 on the season while the Rays fell to 5-3. Tampa came into this series with the Yankees red-hot. They just swept the Toronto Blue Jays, but Pineda’s dominant performance halted the Rays in their tracks.