Heading into the ninth, the Yankees and Rays were tied at four. Six of those eight runs had come on solo home runs. This game wasn’t going to end any other way besides another home run.
Brian McCann hit two home runs for the Yankees, but Tyler Austin finished the game with one of the walk-off variety. The Yankees won their fifth straight, beating the Rays 5-4.
The Rays struck pretty quickly in the first inning. With one out, Kevin Kiermaier crushed a pitch into the second deck in right field. Sabathia got in further trouble, allowing a single to Evan Longoria and hitting Brad Miller with a pitch. However, Sabathia got out of it, keeping the scored at just 1-0.
The Yankees came right back and took the lead in the bottom of the second. Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury led off with two-straight bloop singles. After a Gary Sanchez ground out moved both runners over, Didi Gregorius singled to tie the game. An error on a pickoff attempt by Alex Cobb allowed Ellsbury to score, and give the Yankees the lead. Those would end up being the only runs not to be scored via dinger.
In the top of the second, the Rays answered right back. Steven Souza led off the second with a home run, tying the game at two. Then it was the Yankees’ turn for a home run. McCann led off the bottom of the second with one that went even further than Kiermaier’s, giving the Yankees the lead again.
However, that lead also wasn’t destined to last very long. Kiermaier led off the third with his second home run of the game, tying the game at three. In the fourth, McCann then hit his second home run of the game, giving the Yankees a one-run lead again.
In the top of the fifth, Sabathia allowed singles to the first two batters, and was removed from the game. In his four innings, Sabathia allowed three runs on seven hits. Luckily all three Rays’ home runs came with no one on base.
Jonathan Holder came in for Sabathia and got Evan Longoria to ground into a double play. With a runner at third, Holder was called for a balk, scoring a run to tie the game. After McCann and Joe Girardi disagreed with the call, the umpires met and overturned it, sending the runner back to third base. Holder got Alexei Ramirez to ground out to end the inning, keeping the Yankees in front somehow.
It had been a little while since a home run had been hit when Souza stepped to the plate against Holder in the sixth. That changed when Souza demolished a pitch to center field, tying the game at four.
After that, both offenses settled down. For the Yankees, Chasen Shreve and Blake Parker combined to pitch a scoreless seventh inning, with Parker throwing a scoreless eighth inning as well. Kirby Yates and Tommy Layne combined for another scoreless inning in the ninth.
In the bottom of the ninth, McCann narrowly missed a third home run when his fly out was caught on the warning track. No problem, though. Just a few batters later, Austin took one just over the wall in right, giving the Yankees their fifth straight win.
Tomorrow, the Yankees send Michael Pineda to the mound as they go for six straight.