The New York Yankees were one pitch away from sweeping the Tampa Bay Rays but even so, they savagely took care of business by winning three of four. As has been the case, the pinstripes finished strong with a doubleheader sweep. New York improved to 13-0-1 in its past 14 series’ at Yankee Stadium.
It was a seesaw affair with all of the offense supplied by home runs. Travis d’Arnaud got the last word on a three-home run evening and his own personal porch party. The 5-4 loss was a tough one to take for the pinstripes.
NEEDS MORE BWHIPS
James Paxton missed the BP Show podcast Monday morning because he forgot to throw more BWHIPS prior to his start. The first frame remained a bugaboo for the lefty. d’Arnaud led off (yes, a catcher not named Jason Kendall, hitting leadoff) with a solo shot to right-center on a full count fastball.
Paxton was OK otherwise with seven K’s in six frames but would fall victim to another solo d’Arnaud home run to right-center in the third.
An inning later the Bronx Bombers gained their first lead of the night. After a two-out single by Aaron Hicks, against Andrew Kittredge, Encarnacion rocked a two-run tater to left to give the Yankees the 4-2 advantage. Encarnacion tied Edwin “Duke” Snider on the all-time list with 407 career home runs.
Following two consecutive singles and two consecutive whiffs, Aroldis Chapman used a combination of a questionable pitch selection and location, enabling d’Arnaud to fully extend on a hanging slider out over the plate, which he summarily dunked into the right-field stands for a go-ahead and deciding three-run homer.
Travis d'Arnaud is the first opposing catcher ever with 3 HR in a game against the Yankees.
The Rays awoke a sleeping giant and the Yankees bats broke out big in an 8-3 victory.
CC Sabathia provided the pinstripes quite the lift off a loss. Facing the Rays for the fifth time this season, the veteran southpaw went six strong and gave the lineup time to get its act together and gave them a nice boost as he walked off the mound in the sixth.
Sabathia whiffed six, including Avisail Garcia, who was also robbed of a home run by Brett Gardner in the fourth inning. The future Hall of Fame great limited the damage to a solo home run by Austin Meadows in the second, a solo liner homer to left by Yandy Diaz in the fourth and an RBI-double to left by Diaz in the sixth.
The ensuing batter Luke Voit shook off the doldrums and ripped a single, Gary Sanchez broke out of his funk with a double, Encarnacion was awarded an intentional walk and Didi Gregorius busted out big time with a monster grand slam to right field, making it 8-3.
After a rainout and a rain delay, the Yankees fired up the offense and shut down the Rays following an early blip with a 6-2 victory. Or as manager Aaron Boone put it, they had some savage guys in the box.
Domingo German essentially mirrored his outing against the Mets, shaking off first-inning home runs to Meadows and Diaz. From the third until the ninth, German and the New York bullpen didn’t yield a hit. German went six strong, fanning five.
Urshela spurred the pinstripes power against Yonny Chirinos. With one on in the second stanza, the Yankee third baseman clocked a two-run tater to the porch for the equalizer.
Keeping with their trend this season the Yanks finished off another doubleheader sweep with a 5-1 victory.
BEND BUT DON’T BREAK
In another opener scenario, Chad Green nearly allowed the Rays to jump out early but wiggled out of a bases-loaded jam unscathed.
A Nate Lowe RBI-double in the third against Nestor Cortes Jr. would be the lone blip on the radar. Cortes Jr. went 3.1 frames. Heck, Luis Cessa tossed 3.1 scoreless frames and received a standing ovation. Adam Ottavino looked back to normal with 1.1 scoreless frames to put a bow on the win.
WILLIE, MICKEY AND THE LUKE
Knotting the game at one was Voit powering a solo bomb to center off Charlie Morton in the fifth inning.