Tampa Bay Rays 5 — New York Yankees 6
The Yankees got some right-handed power from some recent returns in today’s 6-5 walk-off win over the Tampa Bay Rays.
Phil Hughes started today’s game but the talk of the game was the return of a couple fan favorites. Hideki Matsui was honored before today’s game but in the game, The Captain returned.
In the “script it that way” department, Derek Jeter made it picture perfect. After Brett Gardner struck out against lefty Matt Moore, Derek Jeter didn’t wait to make a splash. On the first pitch he saw, Derek Jeter went deep to right field to put the Yankees on the board.
The Derek Jeter home run was the first home run since the All-Star break ended and it snapped a nine-game homerless streak for the Yankees.
It seemed like the return of Derek Jeter was rejuvenating as Robinson Cano and Alfonso Soriano followed with a pair of singles. With runners on the corners, Vernon Wells would have some situational hitting and hit a fly ball deep enough to score Cano. A wild pitch moved Soriano to second base and Ichiro Suzuki would single home Soriano. After the first inning, a drought of home runs ended, The Captain was back in a big way and the Yankees had a three-run lead. Everything was going right.
Unfortunately, Hughes wasn’t going right.
In the top of the second inning, James Loney hit a single. After one out, Matt Joyce took advantage of the pull-shifted infield and bunted to get on base. With two on, Kelly Johnson would double in one run and the Rays began a comeback. In the third inning, Evan Longoria and James Loney got a pair of singles to give rookie, Wil Myers, the chance to give the Rays the lead. On a 3-2 pitch, Wil Myers did that, a three-run home run changed the Yankees’ 3-1 lead into a 4-3 deficit.
Derek Jeter started the bottom of the third inning with a single. Then, with one out, the recently returning right-handed bat of Alfonso Soriano would go off. Going the opposite way, Soriano hit a two-run home run to right field and turned the tide back in the Yankees favor.
In the fifth inning, Wil Myers would continue being an offensive force. He led the inning off with his second home run of the game, tying it and just about ending Hughes’ start. Preston Claiborne cleaned up the rest of the inning but Hughes would leave the game with a no-decision.
In four innings, Phil Hughes allowed five runs on nine hits with two walks and four strikeouts.
The bullpens of both teams were solid keeping the game tied at five until the ninth inning. In the second inning of work for Jake McGee, he started the ninth with a walk of Brett Gardner. A wild pitch by McGee allowed Brett Gardner to advance to second. With a base open, the Rays opted to prevent the storybook ending and intentionally walked Derek Jeter. Normally, facing Robinson Cano with the potential game-winning run in scoring position is bad but McGee got him on three pitches, the last a called third strike.
So with one out, Alfonso Soriano created the alternate ending that fans were overjoyed to see. On the first pitch he saw, a 96-mph fastball, Alfonso Soriano hit a single to center field and Brett Gardner scored on the walk-off single. The team mobbed Soriano and the packed Yankee Stadium went crazy with joy.
The bullpen continues to be the brightest spot on the team. Four pitchers (Claiborne, Logan, Robertson, Rivera) pitched five scoreless innings with one hit allowed and three strikeouts.
The Yankees were craving some success from their right-handed bats. Derek Jeter and Alfonso Soriano got six hits in nine at-bats. They both went deep and Alfonso Soriano hit the game-winning single. Not to be overlooked, Ichiro Suzuki was a perfect four-for-four with an RBI too.
The Captain is back and the Yankees are winning. Things start to feel right, again.
Win – Mariano Rivera (2-2)
Loss – Jake McGee (2-3)
*Wil Myers – 2 for 4, 3 R, 2 HR (7; 3-Run & Solo) in the 3rd & 5th, 4 RBI (26)
*Kelly Johnson – 2 for 4, 2B, RBI (48)
*Alfonso Soriano – 4 for 5, 2 R, , Walk-off Single, 2-Run Home Run (18) in the 3rd, 3 RBI (55)
*Derek Jeter – 2 for 4, 2 R, BB, Solo Home Run (1) in the 1st, RBI (2)
Current Yankees Record: 55-50
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