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Yankees 1, Rays 8: Best pretend this game never happened

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Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees couldn't clinch the sweep today, dropping the third game of this series to the Tampa Bay Rays in a game that might be best forgotten. Quickly.

The Rays had Ivan Nova in trouble right from the start, plating two runs in the first when familiar foe James Loney singled in David DeJesus and Evan Longoria. The Yankee offense, meanwhile, also had Erasmo Ramirez on the ropes early, loading the bases in the bottom of the first after a Chase Headley double and a pair of walks drawn by Mark Teixeira and Brian McCann. Garrett Jones grounded out though, and no runs scored.

Ramirez would settle down from there as Headley's double would be the Yankees last hit until the sixth inning. Meanwhile, Tampa Bay continued to have success against Nova, adding a third run in the second inning when Brett Gardner misread a Kevin Kiermaier drive into center field, allowing him to reach on a leadoff triple. Kiermaier then came home on a Curt Casali sacrifice fly.

There was no further score until the top of the fifth inning, when Casali lead off with a double, and Asdrubal Cabrera laid down a sacrifice bunt. Nova kindly decided to repay the Rays for the E1 that allowed the Yankees to walk off last night, by giving up an error of his own, attempting to get out Casali at third and instead throwing the ball away. Everyone was safe and a fourth run scored with still no outs in the fifth. Nova settled down from there to limit the damage and keep it at 4-0, but his night was done after just 81 pitches.

Alex Rodriguez broke up the shutout, and the hitless streak that went back to the first inning, with his 16th home run of the season to lead off the bottom of the sixth. Mark Teixeira followed with a loud fly ball of his own, but this one was caught on the right field warning track. Garrett Jones blooped a double, but nothing came of it after Chris Young grounded out. The Yankees threatened again in the seventh when Jose Pirela, pinch-hitting for Stephen Drew, singled his way to first followed by a Brett Gardner walk, but Headley grounded into a double-play to end the inning.

Bryan Mitchell came on to start the sixth, pitching a pair of strong innings, giving up just the one hit. He came out to pitch the eighth as well, where he was let down by his defense. First Didi Gregorius failed to corral a Longoria grounder with his bare-hand, when he had plenty of time to glove it and make a clean play. Jose Pirela then managed the rare achievement of having two errors on a single play, first in failing to handle an easy double-play ball off the bat of Loney, then in oddly attempting to throw to first when the runner was already safe, and managing instead to throw past Teixeira. This left runners on 2nd and 3rd with no outs, when there should have instead been two outs. Both runners came home to score on a bloop single by Logan Forsythe. A hit-by-pitch followed and brought in Chris Capuano to relieve Mitchell. Capuano walked in a run and allowed another to score on a sacrifice fly. He got the three outs, but it was now a 8-1 ballgame.

That was the end of the scoring, mercifully. Nick Rumbelow came on to pitch a scoreless ninth. On the whole, though, the story of the day was defensive struggles; three errors and at least two more misplays. The offense got little going all day, and couldn't bail the defense out of a tough afternoon.

The Yankees have an off-day Monday, before Oakland comes into town for a three game series starting Tuesday. Hopefully another series win awaits.

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