The Yankees continued their run of games against the AL East with the first of a three game set against the basement dwelling Tampa Bay Rays. Chris Archer was pegged by the Rays while the Yankees sent David Phelps out to oppose him. The teams were kind enough to give the fans free baseball in The Bronx but it proved to just be extra opportunities for the Yankees offense to not do anything.
Phelps was victimized early on by the long ball. With two out in the first Matt Joyce took him deep to right for a solo shot and in the third Kevin Kiermaier added a solo homer of his own to get the Rays out to a 2-0 lead. The lead actually did not hold up against the Yankees offense for very long as they countered immediately in the bottom of the third. After Ichiro Suzuki was hit by a pitch Brett Gardner chased him home with a triple down the right field line. Derek Jeter brought in Gardner with a groundout and the game was now knotted up at 2-2. Both pitchers were able to settle in and there would be no more scoring for the next few frames.
Phelps lasted 5 2/3 innings before he was pulled with runners on first and second, but Adam Warren came in to put out the fire. It was not a stellar effort by the bullpen tonight, however. Warren was able to get out of walking the bases loaded in the seventh, but two walks from Dellin Betances set up a run scoring single in the eighth by Ryan Hanigan off of David Robertson. Things seemed bleak until Brian Roberts of all people came through with a game-tying home run in the bottom of the ninth off of Joel Peralta to save the team from another difficult defeat for a couple of innings.
Shawn Kelley worked an adventurous two frames of extra innings which featured a jam with the bases loaded and one out in the 11th, but made it through without giving up the tie. Jose Ramirez came on in the twelfth was bitten by a two out walk to Brandon Guyer who stole second and scored on a single from Logan Forsythe. That would be enough for the Rays as Brad Boxberger set the Yankees down in order in the bottom of the twelfth.
The Yankees are always going to be in trouble when the bullpen has an off night because they give their relievers (and starters for the most part) no room for error. Roberts' heroics proved to be little more than an extra chance for the offense to not do anything. Phelps and the 'pen were solid enough for the team to get a victory, but since they weren't flawless, the Yankees get another game closer to .500.
Game two of the series starts tomorrow at 7:05 PM. David Price and Hiroki Kuroda are your probables. Maybe Price will be traded overnight and save us some troubles.