Rays 2, Yankees 3: New York closer Mariano Rivera notches save number 38 as Rays fall to Yankees in extra innings.

Al Messerschmidt

Looking for the sweep the Rays throw Alex Cobb against Ray killer Ivan Nova

The Rays broke out to an early lead in the first inning against Yankees right-hander Ivan Nova, who started the game looking very shaky. Newest Ray, Daivd DeJesus, batting lead off in place of Desmond Jennings, worked a great at bat before singling to center field. Ben Zobrist walked on four pitches and Evan Longoria wasted little time driving home DeJesus with a single. After a Matt Joyce ground out put runners on the corners, Wil Myers worked a walk to load the bases and give the Rays a chance for a big first frame. However, James Loney slapped the first pitch he saw from Nova to third base, ending the frame with a rally killing double play.

The inability to add on felt like it would loom large and those fears were confirmed as Nova regained his command to retire the side in the second and third innings with the help of another double play. In the top of the fourth inning, Yankee slugger Robinson Cano tied the game up at one with a opposite field home run off Rays starter Alex Cobb. Curtis Granderson then walked and Edwardo Nunez singled to left putting Cobb in to a bit of a jam, but Zobrist made a nice stop on a Lyle Overbay ground ball to end the inning.

Matt Joyce led off the bottom of the fourth with a four pitch walk but Nova induced his third groundball double play of the game with the next pitch to Wil Myers and Loney grounded out to short, making a third straight quick inning for Nova after wiggling off the hook in the first.

Meanwhile, Alex Cobb was also doing a fine job keeping the Yankees lineup in check, working off his 4-seam fastball with a decent mix of both his change up and hard curve. In the fifth inning, Cobb retired Mark Reynolds on strikes and Chirs Stewart with a groundball before Brett Gardner drew a walk after a 12 pitch battle. With a 0-2 count to Ichiro Suzuki, Gardner took off but a strike from Jose Molina nailed him sliding into second base and ended the frame. Molina, who struggled earlier in the season to control the run game, has looked sharp lately with the arm and getting the speedy Gardner was impressive.

In the sixth inning, Cano would strike again. This time he drove a double to the right centerfield gap that went over Wil Myers' head sending home Suzuki, who had reached on an infield single to open the frame, and giving the Yankees a 2-1 lead. Myers got a good carom off the wall and a quick throw nailed Cano attempting to stretch the double into a triple. The strong throw saved an additional run as the next batter, Alfonso Soriano, reached on a throwing error by Yunel Escobar. Joe Maddon then elected to intentionally walk Granderson in front of Nunez who made weak contact, grounding out to Cobb but moving the runners to second and third. That would be the end of Cobb's afternoon as Maddon turned to Alex Torres to retire Overbay, which he did in short order, striking out the former Blue Jay looking with an assist to Molina for a nice frame job.

The Rays wasted little time answering, however, as Longoria took a 2-2 hanging curve from Nova and absolutely blasted it about 15 rows deep into the seats in left centerfield, his 28th homer of the season. Joyce followed the blast with a hustle double into right, beating the throw from Gardner with a headfirst slide into second. The Rays would again squander an opportunity to add on, however. Wil Myers' struggles at the plate continued (9 for his last 54) as he struck out swinging and then the Yankees walked James Loney intentionally to get to Desmond Jennings. The move paid off as Jennings grounded out to short and ended the threat. Jennings has struggled since returning from the disabled list, going just 2-21 since his return.

Jake McGee entered for the seventh inning and was nothing shot of dominant, retiring Reynolds, Stewart and Gardner on strikes. In the bottom half, Nova stayed on for the Yankees and retired Escobar on a groundout and Molina on a flyball to left before lead off man DeJesus singled to center and ended his afternoon. Another threat went quickly by the wayside however as DeJesus got caught stealing while Ben Zobrist was at the plate.

In the eighth inning, Joel Peralta entered and surrendered a lead off single to Ichiro, but recovered to retire Cano, Soriano and Granderson and preserve the 2-2 tie. The Yankees would turn to David Robertson to navigate the heart of the Rays order and he would prove up to the task, retiring Zobrist, Longoria and Joyce in order. Fernando Rodney worked a clean top of the ninth inning and sent it to the bottom where Wil Myers stepped in against Robertson, working a second inning after throwing just 14 pitches in the eighth. Robertson made quick work of the middle part of the Rays lineup as well, getting Myers on strikes, Loney on a line drive and Jennings on a ground ball to shortstop. Free baseball!

Extra innings kicked off with some boos as Alex Rodriguez pinch hit to lead off the 10th inning against Jamey Wright and singled on a soft liner to centerfield. Gardner followed the A-Rod single with a sacrifice bunt but Ichiro smoked a liner directly at Wright who snagged it out of the air and was able to double up Rodriguez and end the inning. In the bottom half with one out, Jose Molina strangely stayed in the game to face Joba Chamberlin but drew a walk after being behind 0-2 and was mercifully pinch run for by Sam Fuld. Yankees manager Joe Girardi next turned to lefty Boone Logan with left handed hitter David DeJesus due up, however, Maddon countered a pinch hitter of his own: Jose Lobaton, owner of the last two Rays walk off hits. There would be no thrice cream though as Lobaton worked a 3-1 count before grounding into the Rays fourth double play of the afternoon.

Maddon stuck with Jamey Wright for the eleventh inning and it proved costly. A one out Soriano double, followed by a steal of third (with Lobaton now at catcher), lead to the Yankees go ahead run as Curtis Granderson hit a sacrifice fly to right to give the Yanks a 3-2 lead. Wright would keep it right there at one but it would be enough for Mariano Rivera who retired Zorbist on a groundball, Longoria on a deep drive to left that he just missed, and Joyce on a foul pop to left.

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