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Yankees 6, Rays 9: A disastrous fifth inning

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One really, really bad inning likely sinks the Yankees’ shot at the division.

Tampa Bay Rays v New York Yankees Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

When Peter Bourjos grounded out to start the top of the fifth inning, things were going pretty well for the Yankees. They had an 86% chance of winning according to FanGraphs, and the Red Sox were currently losing to the Astros 8-2. If things held, and it looked that way, then the Yankees would be two games back with three to play. It’d still be a tough road, but surmountable.

Instead, the possible happened. The Red Sox will still likely lose, but so will the Yankees. After that Bourjos ground out they allowed seven runs, ultimately a deficit they couldn’t surmount. To recap, though, let’s start from the beginning.

It started off exactly how the last month has gone. Sonny Gray did show a crack in the first inning by allowing a home run to Corey Dickerson, but the Yankees quickly made up the difference. In the bottom of the first Brett Gardner homered to start the inning, and Aaron Judge made it back-to-back by rocketing one into the second deck in right field.

The Yankees added one more in the bottom of the second when Todd Frazier’s RBI single brought home Jacoby Ellsbury after he singled and advanced to second on a wild pitch. They made it a three-run lead in the fourth, after Greg Bird hit a solo shot just over the right-center field wall.

Then, it all went downhill. Gray got the ground out to start the fifth, but then Mallex Smith and Corey Dickerson both singled to put runners on first and third. Gray bounced one in the dirt against Evan Longoria, and Smith scored. Longoria then struck out. At that point, they were one out from getting out of the jam. Instead, Gary Sanchez let one go through his legs and Dickerson scored on the passed ball. Lucas Duda walked. Gray then allowed a two-run shot to Wilson Ramos and just like that, the Rays had a one-run lead.

Here’s where it goes totally wrong. So, the division is on the line. Tommy Kahnle, David Robertson, Chasen Shreve, and Ben Heller are available, and Joe Girardi goes to Jonathan Holder. Holder has been fine so far but he’s really not proven compared to these other options, and it showed. Holder hit Daniel Robertson, and then the game blew open as he allowed a single to Cesar Puello and a triple to Bourjos to give the Rays a four-run lead.

After that it was mostly window dressing. Even though the Rays only got three innings from Jacob Faria, the bullpen patched it together. The Yankees got just four and two-thirds from Gray and tried to hold it as best as possible with Shreve, Ben Heller, and Giovanny Gallegos. The Yankees could not rally, though they tried. They picked up one run on a Starlin Castro RBI single during a faux-rally in the fifth, and Aaron Hicks whacked a solo shot in the ninth. Now, the Red Sox magic number goes to one.

Now, the Yankees cannot lose if they want to win the division, and the Red Sox cannot win. Only winning out and losing out, respectively, will result in a tiebreaker, and that’s it. Suffice it to say that the divisional hopes are over, so we might as well prepare for the wild card. Let’s hope the Yankees don’t have this kind of luck on Tuesday. They’ll face the Blue Jays to start their final series at home tomorrow, and Masahiro Tanaka will face Joe Biagini for a 1 PM EST matinee.