Tropicana Field continues to be a house of horrors for the Yankees, who dropped a tight 7-6 game behind another ineffective outing by Luis Severino and multiple miscues by Gary Sanchez. The Yankees are now 13-13 since being swept by the Rays last month.
The Bombers cut the Rays’ lead to one multiple times, but couldn’t capitalize on a bases loaded, one-out situation after Didi Gregorius bunted to take the bat out of Giancarlo Stanton’s hands. The game could have been salvaged had Sanchez ran hard out of the box, but he was called out at first base to end the game. Aaron Hicks beat the throw at second on a force attempt, and Sanchez could have beaten the throw to first, but didn’t run hard for the majority of his trip up the first base line.
Jake Bauers sparked some two out trouble in the first with a double off the top of the wall in right center. He would eventually score thanks to multiple communication breakdowns by the Yankees. Severino and Sanchez were crossed up on a pitch to Ji-Man Choi, and the ball scooted up the third base line. Sanchez, chasing down the ball way too gingerly, was perhaps waiting for Miguel Andujar to run after it as Bauers rounded third. Andujar didn’t budge, Sanchez didn’t speed up, and the Rays were on the board. Neither Sanchez nor Severino appeared to be too happy in the dugout after the inning, and for good reason. The run could have easily been avoided.
The Trop struck in the second inning, finally in favor of the Yankees. Stanton led off the frame with a towering fly ball to center that Kevin Kiermaier lost in the ceiling, allowing Stanton to cruise into second. Hicks followed with a walk, and after Sanchez and Greg Bird were retired, Andujar drilled an 0-2 breaking ball into center field for a game-tying single.
Severino and the Rays’ bullpen matched zeroes through the top of the fifth, but Severino ran into trouble in the bottom of the inning. With Kiermaier on first with one out, Matt Duffy ripped a grounder back up the middle off Severino’s leg, and Kiermaier hustled to third as the ball trickled into the outfield. It would prove very costly, as Bauers launched a three run shot to right field to put the Rays ahead 4-1.
Meanwhile, Matt Andriese took over for Hunter Wood and stymied the Yankees through 3.2 innings. He ran into some trouble, however, in the sixth when Stanton recorded his third hit of the game, and Hicks followed by reaching on an error by Daniel Robertson. Diego Castillo relieved Andriese, who promptly fired a ball to the backstop that allowed Stanton to score and cut the Tampa Bay lead to 4-2. With Hicks now on second, Sanchez redeemed himself for his first inning blunder by driving a single down the left field to score Hicks. Both runs scored landed on Andriese’s final line, but neither were earned.
Severino wasted no time giving a run right back as Daniel Robertson drilled a solo homer on the first pitch of the frame, putting the Rays ahead 5-3. Mallex Smith followed with a rocket double off the right field wall, and Willy Adames laced a single over second to move Smith to third. That was it for Severino, who allowed a season-high 11 hits.
Green relieved Severino and got ahead of Jesus Sucre on a 1-2 count before dropping a slider right down the middle the Sucre lined for a RBI single. Adames scored on a ground out as Green got out of the sixth, but the Rays had both runs back and a 7-3 lead.
The Bombers tried to claw back in the seventh when they loaded the bases with one out, and Stanton came through again with a knock to right center to pull the Yankees within one once again. It was as close as they would come the rest of the night, including that infuriating ninth inning.
Masahiro Tanaka will pitch tomorrow night, while the Rays have yet to announce their starter. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 PM.