If you skipped this game because the Yankees' offense had you down, you missed a weird one. Although Jacoby Ellsbury started the night on the Yankees' bench (in favor of starting Aaron Hicks against lefty Matt Moore), he ended up being the hero of the game as the Yankees went on to snap their three-game losing streak.
CC Sabathia didn't get off to a great start tonight. The Rays got on the board first in the second inning after Sabathia loaded the bases then gave up a two-run double to Logan Forsythe. He got into another jam in the fourth inning when Forsythe hit yet another double and Brandon Guyer drove in a run on a line drive to center field. Aaron Hicks dove hard for the ball, but came up just a bit short (he later ended up leaving the game with a sore left shoulder). Next up was Evan Longoria, who doubled to right. Guyer definitely should (and could) have scored on this play, but for some reason the third base coach thought the ball was coming home and held Guyer at third, even though the ball was actually cut off at second base. Sabathia got a ground ball to end the inning.
After giving up a walk and single in the fifth inning, Sabathia's night was cut short. Ivan Nova came on in long relief and had a great outing, pitching two and one-third innings without allowing a hit. He also struck out two batters. Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller came in for the eighth and ninth innings and struck out five batters to end the game.
As for the Yankees, they tied up the game in the second inning when Brian McCann hit a two-run homer to right field. The fifth inning is when all the excitement happened. Since Hicks had to leave the game after the injury, Ellsbury took his spot in the lineup, batting eighth. With two outs, Ellsbury and Didi Gregorius both singled. Moore was charged with a balk to move the runners to second and third. Pitching to Brett Gardner with a 3-2 count, all of a sudden Ellsbury took off running and slid across home plate to tie the game. Luckily, Gardner was taking the pitch or it could have been dangerous, but it was really a heads-up play by Ellsbury to run on Moore who wasn't checking him at third at all.
The Yankees took the lead in the bottom of the sixth after McCann singled, then tacked on a couple more runs in the eighth for good measure. Tex led off with a topper down the third base line. With one out and McCann at the plate, Tex stole second base, and ended up advancing to third on a throwing error by the catcher. Then Ellsbury drove in the final runs of the game with a double to right.
Masahiro Tanaka will start tomorrow's game at 1:05 EST. He'll face off against the Rays' top prospect Blake Snell, who will be making his MLB debut.