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Yankees 1, Rays 2: Sonny Gray deserved better

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Sonny Gray kept his team in the game, but they came up short in the run support department again.

MLB: New York Yankees at Tampa Bay Rays Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Sonny Gray pitched a very good game for the Yankees. That fact will be overshadowed by the fact that he surrendered a solo home run in the bottom of the eighth inning to Adeiny Hechavarria that broke a 1-1 tie, ultimately giving the Rays the win.

Lack of run support has been the story of Gray’s short tenure as a Yankee to this point. He pitched eight innings, working out of trouble on multiple occasions. He gave up just two runs and struck out nine batters. Gray deserved a better fate than a loss after a well-pitched game, but it wasn’t to be.

The Yankees got out to a brief 1-0 lead in the first inning when Matt Holliday doubled home Aaron Judge. Unfortunately, that was the beginning and the end of the scoring for New York. Tampa Bay got on the scoreboard themselves with a leadoff homer from Kevin Kiermaier before both teams traded zeroes until the eighth.

New York was able to knock starter Blake Snell out of the game after just five innings, despite the fact that he gave up just one run on two hits, but the Rays’ bullpen was even better. They closed out the game allowing just one base runner the rest of the way.

Brett Gardner, Chase Headley, and Holliday were the only Yankees to come up with hits in the game. Judge and Todd Frazier reached via walks, but that was all the offense the team could muster. It’s very hard to win ball games that way, and that’s exactly how things played out this evening.

The bad news for the Yankees, beyond just losing this game to a team they should beat with such a strong performance on the mound, is that the Red Sox are handily beating the Oakland Athletics. That will put them back to four games behind Boston, barring some miracle. Minnesota, the Yankees’ closest competition in the Wild Card, is also up big on their opponent.

Opportunities to catch the Red Sox for the division are dwindling. It’s frustrating to see a winnable game slip through the cracks the way that this one did. Eight innings of two-run ball should be good enough to get you a win most nights, so this one is on the offense. At least there is still a chance to win the series in the matinee tomorrow afternoon.

Jaime Garcia takes the mound against Chris Archer in the finale at 1:10 pm.