ST. PETERSBURG– New York Yankees ace Masahiro Tanaka struggled to find his command early against the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday afternoon. The Rays pounded Tanaka for seven runs on eight hits in less than three innings of work.
The Yankees battled back in the second with two runs to bring it back within one. Aaron Judge ripped a double to left field, plating Starlin Castro. Chase Headley scored on a groundout to first by Ronald Torreyes.
But this was a deficit that the Yankees, ultimately, could not overcome. Longoria and Morrison added to the lead by hitting home runs in the second and third innings respectively. Both home runs came on pitches hung over the plate by Tanaka.
Chris Archer turned in a solid performance for his Rays. The 28-year-old righty went seven innings with five strikeouts. He had a shaky second inning but settled in after that.
Perhaps the Yankees best opportunity to reduce the deficit came in the top of the seventh inning with the bases loaded and two outs. Gary Sanchez found himself in a 2-2 count and he grounded out to the shortstop to end the inning. He finished 0-5 on the day.
The ninth inning worried the Rays as the Yankees loaded the bases again, this time with no outs. Manager Kevin Cash brought in Alex Colome to try and secure a win for his team after relief pitcher Austin Pruitt failed to secure an out. Colome retired three straight batters and the Rays took the Opening Day matchup over the Yankees, 7-3.
The Yankees managed nine hits on the afternoon, six of them coming from Castro and Headley (three apiece). They will look to get back on track Tuesday when lefty CC Sabathia takes the mound against Jake Odorizzi.
Win- Chris Archer (1-0)
Loss- Masahiro Tanaka (0-1)
Save- Alex Colome (1)
Kevin Kiermaier- 2-3, 2 R, 2 BB, 1 SB
Logan Morrison- 3-4, R, 3 RBI, Solo HR (1) in 3rd
Starlin Castro- 3-4, R
Chase Headley, 3-4, R