A tough afternoon today, as the Yankees lost the middle game of this series to the Tampa Bay Rays by a score of 3-2. It definitely felt like a winnable game, but little breaks over the course of the night didn't quite fall the Yankees way. New York lost ground to the Toronto Blue Jays, but remain just 1.5 games back in a tight division race.
Nathan Eovaldi wasn't at his sharpest tonight, giving up five hits and four walks, but kept the team in the game with 5.1 innings of three run ball; striking out seven. Logan Forsythe doubled with one out in the top of the seventh, and Asdrubal Cabrera walked. Eovaldi struck out James Loney, but gave up a two out, run scoring single to Kevin Kiermaier. Then in the top of the third, Eovaldi loaded the bases with two walks and a hit-by-pitch, once again looking like he might get out of it with a strikeout, this time of Forsythe. Cabrera came through with a big hit for the Rays though, plating two runs. Eovaldi got out of the inning without further damage but it was now a 3-0 game.
The Yankees came back into the game in the bottom of the fifth. Matt Moore walked John Ryan Murphy to lead off the inning, and the red hot Didi Gregorius doubled into left center field to plate Murphy. Back-to-back groundouts from Brendan Ryan and Brett Gardner brought Gregorius over to third and then in home to make it a one run game. Chris Young walked to push Moore out of the game, and Alex Rodriguez followed it up with another walk but the Yankees got no further runs in the inning.
Eovaldi's pitch count pulled him out of the game with one out and nobody on in the sixth. Chasen Shreve got the final two outs, and started out for the seventh; walking a pair himself. Adam Warren came on for the remaining two outs to keep the game in range. Jose Pirela pinch-hit for Ryan in the bottom of the seventh, instead of Rob Refsnyder, which perhaps doesn't lend to much optimisim about how the Yankees view Refsnyder at this point. Jacoby Ellsbury came into the game as well, hitting for Chris Young. Nothing doing in the seventh though.
Things got a bit more exciting with two outs in the eighth. Back-to-back singles for Chase Headley and Greg Bird, before pinch-hitter Brian McCann walked to load the bases. Gregorius lined the ball about as hard as he could have hit it, but right at Forsythe to end the threat. Could so easily have instead been a two-run scoring, lead-changing shot had it been hit just a fraction either way. Such is baseball.
That was that, really. The Yankees got a scoreless ninth out of James Pazos and Andrew Bailey, but couldn't get anything going in the bottom of the ninth against Rays closer Brad Boxberger. A loss in the books, and the series decider tomorrow with another 1:05 start; Chris Archer against Ivan Nova.