For the first five innings of the game, CC Sabathia looked like his old self. The offense had gotten him some runs against David Price, and with the way CC was going, they might've been enough. But a couple bad at bats in the sixth changed all that and put the Yankees in a hole they wouldn't get out of. The Rays took the series with a 4-2 win in what was a frustrating loss for the Yankees.
Through the first four innings, both teams had only managed two baserunners each. The Yankees got theirs via singles from Robinson Cano and Mark Reynolds. The Rays' came from a double from Evan Longoria and a walk from Desmond Jennings.
The tie was finally broken in the top of the fifth inning. Alex Rodriguez and Vernon Wells led off the inning with back-to-back singles. After Curtis Granderson struck out, Reynolds added another single. It wasn't hit quite hard enough to score a run as Rodriguez had to be held up at third. That brought Austin Romine to the plate. With the count at 2-2, Romine watched a pitch just missed the zone and was called a ball. With the count now full, Romine proceeded to foul off the next three pitches. On the ninth pitch of the at bat, Price's pitch was high and was called ball four. That scored a run and made it 1-0.
And on the next at bat, another Romine play helped lead to another run. Ichiro Suzuki came to the plate and he hit a bouncer to Ben Zobrist at second. Zobrist made the play right in Romine's path to second. Instead of running into the tag, Romine slowed down, forcing Zobrist to make the thrown to first. Ichiro was out at first, but Romine beat out the throw to second. That allowed Wells to score and made it 2-0 Yankees.
It looked like the Yankees might have added to that lead in the sixth inning. Alfonso Soriano hit a pitch to deep left field. Off the bat, it looked like it was a home run, but the ball died in front of the wall and Sean Rodriguez made a nice running catch.
Sabathia's great five innings all went up in flames when he took the mound for the sixth. Sam Fuld led off the inning with a single. After that, CC lost the strike zone. He walked Jennings on four pitches and his first two pitches to Zobrist were balls as well. After getting the count to 3-1, Zobrist laced a double to left-center field. That scored both runners and the game was tied again. Longoria then gave the Rays the lead with a single that scored Zobrist. CC struck out the next two batters and eventually got out of it thanks a nice play at first by Reynolds, but the Rays had opened up a 3-2 lead.
In the top of the seventh, the Yankees wasted a one-out double from Granderson. Sabathia came back out for the bottom of the inning. He got Jose Molina to start the inning, but after allowing another hit to Fuld, his day was over. After a solid five innings, a couple bad batters blew up CC's start. He surrendered another lead, but he was still better than he has been, so there's that. Sabathia went 6.1 innings, allowing three runs on six hits and two walks while striking out seven.
Preston Claiborne came in and got the last two outs of the seventh. Claiborne came back out for the bottom of the eighth after the Yankees went down in order in the top half. That inning did not go as well. Longoria homered to straight away center to make it 4-2 Rays. Claiborne got the next three hitters out to send the game to the bottom of the ninth.
The Rays' closer Fernando Rodney had to deal with the middle of the order in the top of the ninth. Soriano and Rodriguez both went down relatively easily, leaving the game up to pinch hitter Brett Gardner. All Gardner could do was fly out to end the game. The Rays came away with a 4-2 win and the Yankees came away with a frustrating loss.
The Yankees will try and avoid a sweep in the series finale tomorrow at 1:40 eastern. Ivan Nova and Alex Cobb will be the starters.