Through five innings, this game resembled what happened the Yankees last faced off against Charlie Morton. They had one run and the game was tied, but they had recorded just one hit and one walk otherwise. Then the sixth inning and a game-changing balk happened.
Morton and the Rays allowed four runs in the sixth, giving the Yankees control for good. The Yankees’ bullpen didn’t run into much trouble down the stretch, and that was enough for a 5-1 win and a sweep of the doubleheader. Savage.
After stranding runners in both the first two innings—including Chad Green escaping a bases loaded with nobody out spot—the Rays did eventually take a lead in the third against Nester Cortes Jr. It started with Tommy Pham drawing a lead-off walk. Nate Lowe came up next and promptly drove him home with a double.
It took a couple innings, but the Yankees would even the score. In the fifth, the slumping Luke Voit crushed a home run to left-center field, tying things up. It was his only hit in the game, but hopefully it helps get him going again.
The next inning, the Yankees took the lead thanks to the Rays catching a case of the -alks. Austin Romine starting things off with a double, and moved to third on a ground out. Charlie Morton then proceeded to walk the bases loaded, bringing Didi Gregorius to the plate. During the at-bat, Morton balked, but it was more the fault of catcher Mike Zunino attempting to call a timeout during the pitcher’s windup. That plated a run.
For good measure, Gregorius then delivered a two-RBI single, and moved to second on an error. Morton allowed a single and a walk to two of the next three batters, chasing him for the game. Andrew Kettridge came into the game, but he promptly walked Mike Tauchman, giving the Yankees another run.
The Yankees didn’t run into much trouble after taking the lead. After Green’s first inning, Cortes Jr., Luis Cessa, and Adam Ottavino combined to finish off the last eight innings. As a team, the Yankees allowed just five hits and five walks.
If things had gone poorly in this series, the Yankees’ division lead could have been two games. Instead it’s eight. This series was a test, and the Yankees passed it.