The Tampa Bay Rays defeated the New York Yankees by a final score of 5-3 to earn a series split in New York and finish the 7-game, 6-day road trip with a record of 3-4. Chris Archer (2-3. 4.21 ERA) earned the victory and Fernando Rodney worked a scoreless 9th inning striking out the side to pick up his 15th save. The victory improves the Rays record to 37-35 on the year. Ivan Nova took the loss for the Yankees (2-2, 4.91 ERA) and the loss drops the Yankees record to 41-34.
Archer worked 6 solid innings allowing the Yankees only 1R/ER on 6 hits striking out 4 and walking 1. Entering his start there was some concern about his ability to attack the strike zone. In his last two starts against the Boston Red Sox he made 103 pitches in just 4.0 innings and 109 pitches in 4.2 innings. He struggled with his location and needed 25 pitches to get out of the 1st inning.
The Rays handed Archer a 1-0 lead as Ben Zobrist drove in Matt Joyce with a single in the top of the first inning.The first inning looked like it was going to be more of the same from Archer as he was forced to throw 25 pitches and allowed the Yankees to tie the game at 1-1. He settled in and only needed 67 pitches to get through the next five innings. On the afternoon he made 92 pitches, 67 for strikes, and had nine ground ball outs to go along with four strikeouts.
Joe Maddon's said of Archer's start that he was "Really really good. Early in the game a little bit unsettled but then got good tempo." Maddon complemented catcher Jose Molina saying "J-M0 [Molina] did a really nice job with him today. Really, I thought followed the game plan well."
The Rays offense had opportunities off Nova but were unable to deliver the key hit. In the 5th inning they had runners at 1st and 2nd but Ben Zobrist struck out and in the 6th inning they had the bases loaded but Jose Molina grounded into a double play to end the inning.
They finally broke through in the 7th inning and for a nice change it was the Rays offense doing 2-out damage. Entering the game the Rays pitching staff was second in the AL in runs allowed with 2-outs with 158 and the Yankees ranked 14th in the league allowing only 105 runs.
Nova retired Yunel Escobar on a ground out and Matt Joyce on a fly out for a two quick easy outs but then hit Desmond Jennings and Ben Zobrist and was replaced by Shawn Kelly. Kelly walked Evan Longoria to load the bases and was replaced with left hander Boone Logan to face the left handed hitting James Loney.
What we had set up was a battle of career norms versus small sample size. In his career Boone Logan has been very effective against left handed hitters holding them to a .249 batting average but in 2013 he has allowed them to hit .279 (12 for 43). James Loney has struggled in his career against left handed pitching hitting hitting .256 but in 2013 he has hit .354 (23 for 65) against southpaws. James Loney won the battle lining soft line drive over Jayson Nix head that fell in front of Brett Gardner to score both Desmond Jennings and Ben Zobrist and the Rays had a 3-1 lead.
After many had second-guessed Joe Maddon's bullpen moves on Saturday he went right back to the same script. He called on Jake McGee to work to the bottom of the Yankees lineup and he worked a scoreless 7th to bring the heart of the Yankees order up with the Rays still holding a 3-1 lead.
Joe Maddon went right back to Joel Peralta who retired Robinson Cano, Travis Hafner, and Lyle Overbay on fly outs to Desmond Jennings. After the game Peralta said facing the same part of the lineup and having success made him feel really good. "Thanks to Joe to put me back out there. That means a lot to me to still have confidence in me." He said that "Joe [Maddon] told me yesterday that the situation today is going to be the same as yesterday, he's going to put me out there. I was hoping for it and he did."
Fernando Rodney came in to work the bottom of the 9th inning with the bottom of the Yankees order due up. It was not a contest as Rodney had a lethal combination of throwing gas and hitting corners. He struck out the side fanning Zoilo Almonte looking and Jayson Nix and David Adams swinging.
Joe Maddon gave credit to his bullpen after the game saying "The bullpen was great Jake [McGee] came out there and threw strikes and got the outs. The same with Joel. Joel is a fly ball pitcher he got his fly balls that is great." He was particulary impressed with Fernando Rodney saying "that was as good as we've seen him in awhile regarding fastball command."