What started off looking like a New York victory tonight quickly turned for the worst in the seventh inning as the Tampa Bay Rays overcame a 2-0 deficit, with a little help from Tropicana's roof, and topped the New York Yankees 3-2.
Scoring commenced and ended in the third inning for New York. Mark Teixeira's two-out double down the first base line set up Robinson Cano for his first home run of second half. I suppose that he's still got a little bit left in the tank despite winning the Home Run Derby?
Sam Fuld smoked a ball to deep center in the bottom of the fifth, which was followed by Reid Brignac single to right field to cut New York's lead in half.
Onto a crazy seventh inning that unfolded somewhat like this:
Bartolo Colon surrendered a weakly hit infield single to Robinson Chirinos and a Sean Rodriguez single to right field. Enter Boone Logan. Justin Ruggiano hit a ball off the ceiling* of Tropicana Field out in center that Curtis Granderson can't come up with, so now the bases are loaded. Elliot Johnson bounces a double play ball off of Logan's glove to tie the game and Johnny Damon's sacrifice-fly to center gives the Rays their 3-2 victory.
Bartolo Colon had a quality outing tonight. His final line: 6.1 innings, five hits, two walks, nine strikeouts and only one earned run allowed. As if it matters, he was charged with the loss.
However, Jeremy Hellickson deserves some praise here. Despite looking like he belongs in grade school (Henry Rowengartner, anyone?), he pitched a fantastic game for Tampa Bay. Pitching seven strong innings, he allowed only five hits, one walk and two earned runs off the Cano home run. He struck out seven Yankees.
New York had a golden opportunity to pad their lead in the top half of the seventh with Derek Jeter at the plate and Brett Gardner and Eduardo Nunez on third and second base, respectively. Jeter managed to hit a soft grounder to first base to kill any chances at a rally. In his 27 plate appearances since his five for five afternoon, Jeter has merely five hits and one walk.
With the win, the Rays improve to 51-44 while the Yankees fall to 56-38. New York still has a 5.5 game lead over Tampa Bay, six games in the loss column.
*For the record, I do not blame the loss suffered today on the roof of Tropicana Field. That would be what I like to call a joke. However, the loss may most definitely be blamed on Sergio Mitre.