In a curious case of missing offenses, the Yankees enjoyed their second consecutive victory over an AL East foe in the Tampa Bay Rays 1-0 on Wednesday night. They now trail the Rays by one game in the loss column.
Let me rephrase; The Tampa Bay Rays capped a great comeback tonight off David Robertson in the ninth inning, beating the New York Yankees 4-1.
David Phelps tossed 4.2 innings allowing no runs on three hits and four walks while striking out three. Phelps worked into and out of trouble in the first inning, with Ben Zobrist doubling and Carlos Pena working a walk to start the game. Phelps would induced a fly out, ground out, then loaded the bases via Luke Scott walk, but forced Will Rhymes to ground out and end the frame.
The Yankees scored their only run in the bottom half of the first inning. Derek Jeter opened it up with a single and Robinson Cano's two-out double managed to plate Jeter and give the Yankees a 1-0 lead.
Phelps looked solid throughout the rest of his outing until he retired the first two batters he faced in the top of the fifth inning. Zobrist and Pena would double and walk, yet again, and B.J. Upton would walk to load the bases. Joe Girardi called upon Boone Logan, who promptly struck out Matt Joyce.
Jeff Niemann, however, pitched very well tonight for the Rays. He went seven innings, allowing merely one earned run on six hits and one walk while striking out five.
The top of the eighth inning was eventful as well. With Rafael Soriano on the mound, Upton and Joyce would reach on a single and error, respectively, to start the inning. Soriano would then pull off his best Houdini impersonation, striking out Scott, inducing a force out at second base, and getting pinch-hitter Desmond Jennings to fly out to shallow left field to end the threat.
And then the train-wreck.
Sean Rodriguez singled, Brandon Allen singled and Zobrist walked to load the bases with no outs. After striking out Pena looking, Upton managed to get Rodriguez home thanks to a sac-fly out to right field (Heck of an attempt by Nick Swisher, but the throw came in a bit late) to tie the game 1-1. Joyce would then stumbled over himself while hitting a wall-scrapping three-run homer to give the Rays their first lead of the night, 4-1.
There are going to be growing pains as Robertson adjusts to his new role of pitching mostly in the ninth inning. Being the man to follow Mariano Rivera is arguably one of the most difficult tasks a player will ever have to endure. Unfortunately, the Rays got the best of Robertson tonight. He'll bounce back.
Despite their best efforts, the Yankees couldn't answer in the bottom of the ninth.
Oh yeah, the Yankees are 1-4 against the Rays this year.
This is one of those stinging losses that a team experiences a few times each year. They'll look to take the rubber game Thursday night with CC Sabathia taking on David Price.
Comment of the game: MichaelGGBGrabow. And despite the loss, Pinstripe Alley extends a very happy birthday to one of our writers, WhatWouldJeterDo.