ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — At the risk of lowering my standards here, the New York Yankees did what they had to do and took two out of three in their series at the Tampa Bay Rays. Yes, you’d love for your ace to lay down the hammer with an opportunity to sweep. Yet, it was a nice bounce-back response to the debacle weekend in Boston.
The Yankees stayed one step ahead of the Rays all evening. On a night where Gumby started, the bullpen was bend but don’t break in a 4-3 victory.
Could Jordan Montgomery be a poor man’s Al Leiter? Only time will tell. On Tuesday, Montgomery shoved as he did earlier this year against Tampa. The Yankee southpaw tossed five scoreless frames, walked three, scattered five hits, and fanned five.
Yet, in the home half of the sixth, Chad Green’s struggles continued as he yielded a two-run homer to Brandon Lowe, to left-center, cutting the New York lead to one.
However, during the eighth inning, Ryan LaMarre made his one hit count big time against Jeffrey Springs. LaMarre smacked a solo bomb to right for what would ultimately stand up as the game-winning run.
The Rays would claw one run back against Zack Britton in the home half with a Randy Arozarena ground-rule double. Yet, Britton would escape further damage by getting Mike Zunino to bang into an inning-ending double play.
Aroldis Chapman also bared down in the ninth to seal the deal.
There was more drama off the field than on it during this game. Where was Aaron Judge? Did the Yankees trade for Joey Gallo? Did the Yankees trade Judge for Gallo? When all was said and done, Judge recorded a big hit, Gallo would become a Yankee, and New York defeated Tampa 3-1 in 10 innings.
The way this contest played out, the Yankees essentially “out-Ray’d” the Rays. Nestor Cortes Jr. toiled for five frames. Cortes Jr. scattered three hits, fanned five and his lone blemish was an RBI double to Lowe in the fourth frame.
From there, the rest of the bullpen tossed five no-hit innings. Lucas Luetge fanned four in his two innings. Britton got a vital double play in the eighth inning. Green was back on track in the ninth. Chapman found some drama but held it down in the tenth.
Offensively, the Yankees scratched out a run with some help against Michael Wacha in the fifth frame. Urshela reached on a Joey Wendle throwing error. Allen followed with a double. With one out, LeMahieu plated Urshela with a sac-fly to center.
Fast forward to the tenth inning, facing Pete Fairbanks, Allen took one for the team. Then Judge, who entered in the fifth inning, singled up the middle, beyond the reach of Wander Franco, and plated the automatic runner, Urshela.
Ideally, you’d like your ace to slam the door shut on a sweep. Alas, Gerrit Cole, as well as the Yankee lineup, were asleep at the wheel in a 14-0 Tampa trouncing at the Trop.
This contest was practically done before it started. Cole yielded four runs in the first frame. That included a Yandy Diaz RBI single and an Austin Meadows three-run homer to right. While he would rebound for a stretch and registered his eighth double-digit strikeout game on the season, Cole and his defense would unravel in the sixth inning. Gardner botched a fly ball in left that would’ve made for the second out but instead allowed two more runs to score and an exit for Cole with two runners still on. The next big blow in the 10-spot inning was a grand slam by Brett Phillips off Albert Abreu.
On a positive note, Clay Holmes posted a scoreless eighth inning during his Yankee debut.
Yet, as I said, the offense was paltry, collecting a mere four hits and zero runs against Luis Patiño and company.
At 53-48, the Yankees travel to Miami for a three-game set against the Miami Marlins starting Friday evening.
Pitching probables, Jameson Taillon vs. Zach Thompson, Domingo German vs. TBD, Jordan Montgomery vs. TBD.