The Yankees (28-17) stole a page from Tampa Bay’s book, employing an opener, and while that didn’t go smoothly, some plate patience, 3 HR, and a big PH double helped them to a 13-5 win over the Rays on Sunday afternoon.
With the win, the Yankees took two of three from Tampa Bay this weekend and moved back into first place by 1/2 a game.
Chad Green, who started, got help in the top of the first from Gary Sanchez. After a leadoff walk, Sanchez gunned down the runner trying to steal. This was huge because the next batter doubled. Green held the Rays scoreless in the top of the first.
The Yanks scored in the bottom of the first when D.J. LeMahieu singled and with one out, Luke Voit walked. With two out, Kendrys Morales singled home LaMahieu.
But in the top of the second, Chad Green’s struggles all season continued. With two out, he gave up back-to-back HR on consecutive pitches, then hit the next batter in the head, which, even if unintentional, isn’t a good look. 2-1 Rays.
Brett Gardner hit his 7th HR of the season, a 2-run shot, to put the Yanks up 3-2 in the bottom of the second.
But in the top of the third, Nestor Cortes gave up a 3-run HR to put the Rays up 5-3. To Cortes’ credit, he settled down after that.
One concern about having Green start and Cortes follow is this. Going into this game, the Yankees’ team ERA was 3.64. Take away Green, Cortes, Stephen Tarpley and Jake Barrett, and that ERA would have been 3.14. Hence the apprehension over Green and Cortes.
Aaron Hicks hit a 2-run HR in the bottom of the fourth (1) that tied the game at 5.
Bottom of the fifth. Gary Sanchez triples to lead off the inning but the Yanks can’t bring him in. Aaargh.
Top of the sixth. Adam Ottavino comes in with two on, two out and walks the batter to load the bases. He gets a strikeout to get out of it.
In the bottom of the sixth, the Yankees scored seven runs, part of it due to good plate patience and taking the walk. Gardner singled to lead off the inning and stole second. Clint Frazier, 8 for his last 51 and dropped to ninth in the lineup, walked. LeMahieu popped up a bunt attempt for out #1. Aaron Hicks walked to load the bases. Luke Voit walked to force in the go-ahead run. 6-5 Yanks. With Gary Sanchez up, a pitch got away, but Frazier was thrown out at home for out #2, the other runners moving up. Sanchez was then intentionally walked to set up the force at any base for out #3, which didn’t come for a while. Kendrys Morales walked to force in another run. 7-5, Yankees. Gleyber Torres reached on an infield single, upheld by replay, 8-5 Yankees. Thairo Estrada PH for Gio Urshela, who got banged up earlier, and Estrada broke the game wide open with a bases-clearing double. 11-5. Gardner then doubled to make it 12-5 before Frazier struck out for the final out.
In the seventh, LeMahieu homered (3) for the final tally of 13-5.
Chance Adams closed things out with three scoreless innings of relief for his first MLB save.
LeMahieu 2 hits, solo HR (.312)
Hicks 2-run HR (1)
Sanchez 2 hits.
Morales 2 RBI
Torres 2 hits, RBI
Estrada 3 RBI
Gardner 3 hits, 3 RBI, 2-run HR
Frazier, slumping. 0 for 3, 3 strikeouts, 1 walk. 8 for last 51.
Green 1 2/3 IP, 2 R, 3 H, 1 W, 1 K. Gave up 2 HR. 1 HBP. 13.50
Cortes 4 IP, 3 R, 3 H, 2 W, 6 K. Gave up 1 HR. 9.00
Ottavino (W, 2-1, 1.61) 1/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 W, 1 K.
Adams (S, 1) 3 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 1 W, 4 K. 0.00
The Yanks now have an opportunity to open that lead a little wider. They now play two of the worst teams in the league, the Orioles followed by KC.
Time to make a little hay.