Inheriting a scoreless game in the bottom of the eighth, Adam Ottavino walked Yoshi Tsutsugo and Kevin Kiermaier, with a strikeout of Willy Adames sandwiched in between. A wild pitch — not a passed ball — put runners on second and third, and Michael Perez, pinch hitting for Mike Zunino, hit a sacrifice fly to center field, as the Rays scored the lone run of the game in an inning where they did not record a hit.
Lost in the attention paid to this inning was Masahiro Tanaka’s brilliant performance. Despite being limited to only 59 pitches, he threw five shutout innings, giving up only one hit (a first-inning single to Yandy Diaz), striking out five and walking none. Had he been fully stretched out, he could have been the first Yankee starter to go at least seven full innings. With James Paxton and J.A. Happ struggling, the Yankees have been desperate for a solid start by a pitcher not named Gerrit Cole, and Tanaka delivered that tonight. Luis Cessa added two shutout innings of his own, striking out two.
On the other side of the diamond, the Tampa Bay Rays’ pitching staff simply dominated the Yankees lineup, who did not have a hit until DJ LeMahieu’s single in the top of the sixth. Starter Blake Snell struck out five batters, while Andrew Kittredge, Pete Fairbanks, Nick Anderson, and Chaz Roe combined to throw 5.2 innings of two-hit ball.
Only in the top of the seventh did the Yankees threaten — without even recording a hit — after Diego Castillo walked Aaron Hicks and Giancarlo Stanton to open the inning and Gio Urshela walked after a ten-pitch at-bat with two outs. Anderson, however, blew three fastballs past Gary Sanchez to end the threat. Mike Tauchman opened the eighth inning with a double, but a baserunning blunder on a LeMahieu ground ball prevented any threat from materializing.
Ottavino gets tagged with the lose and falls to 2-1, while Roe improves to 2-0. Even with the loss, the Yankees stand at 9-4 on the season, which is pretty good.
Ballgame. The #Yankees fall to 9-4, which is a 42 win pace in 60 games, or 112 (!!) in 162— Pinstripe Alley (@pinstripealley) August 8, 2020
We will have a day full of baseball tomorrow, as the Yankees and Rays play two. The first game is scheduled for 2:10, and will be a veritable battle of aces, as Gerrit Cole (3-0, 2.55 ERA) matches up with Tyler Glasnow (0-0, 3.12 ERA).