After the struggles of the last couple games, it was an encouraging sign that the Yankees picked up a pair of early runs. But after that, the Yankees' offense went back to being bad. However, with the way Shane Greene was pitching, it looked like two runs might be enough. It wouldn't be as the Rays came back to tie the game in the seventh. Just as the feelings of dread set it, the Yankees picked up a run in the ninth, thanks to Brett Gardner and Derek Jeter. That extra run would be enough, as the Yankees ended their losing streak with a big 3-2 win over the Rays.
The Yankees opened the scoring with some early runs in the top of the second. With two outs in the inning, Chase Headley kept the inning alive with a walk. That brought a slumping Martin Prado to the plate. Prado fell behind 0-2, but on the third pitch of the at bat, he took a Drew Smyly pitch over the left field wall. That made it 2-0 Yankees.
The Yankees did fall asleep after those two early runs, because of course they did. For a while that didn't seem to matter as much, thanks to Greene's nice outing. Through five innings, Greene had struck out nine.
But in the sixth inning, the Rays' offense got a rally going. After Ben Zobrist struck out, Matt Joyce and Evan Longoria hit back-to-back singles. Greene got James Loney to line out, but Yunel Escobar picked up a two-out single that would score a run. Greene got Vincent Belnome to ground out to limit the damage, but it was now 2-1.
Greene came back out to start the seventh inning. The first person up was Curt Casali, who reached after he was hit by a pitch. Kevin Kiermaier then reached on a swinging bunt after Headley had no play at first or second. That would be it for Greene. He went six innings, allowing two runs (more on that in a second) on seven hits and two walks, while striking out ten.
Shawn Kelley came in for Greene. The first man he faced was Desmond Jennings, who sacrifice bunted to move the runners to second and third. Zobrist then grounded out, but it was enough to score a run and tie the game. Kelley struck out Joyce to escape the inning and keep the game tied.
Neither team scored in the eighth and the top of the Yankees' lineup was due up in the ninth. Gardner reached to lead off the inning by grounding one back up the middle. Rays' pitcher Jake McGee deflected it, causing it to go to second baseman Logan Forsythe. Gardner beat the throw, which was wild and went into the dugout, allowing Gardner to go to second. Jeter came up next. The count ran to 2-2 after a couple Jeterian bunt attempts. With two strikes on him, Jeter ditched the bunts and swung away. He punched through a single, scoring Gardner and giving the Yankees the lead again. While the inning featured another hit (A Mark Teixeira infield single. Yes, really.), the Yankees couldn't push another run across.
David Robertson came in to pitch the bottom of the ninth and try and finish off the game. After getting the first two outs without much trouble, the Rays sent Sean Rodriguez up as a pinch hitter. On the second pitch of the at bat, Rodriguez made decent contact on a pitch. Off the bat, it looked like it might be trouble, but it died in semi-deep left field, allowing Gardner to make the catch. The Yankees finally ended their losing streak with a 3-2 win.
The Yankees and Rays will finish up their series tomorrow at 1:40 eastern. Hiroki Kuroda will get the start for the Yankees and Jeremy Hellickson will go for the Rays.