The Rays looked to salvage game three in a frustrating series in New York that saw them fall just short in two winnable games. The Rays had a good opportunity with their best-performing pitcher on the mound in Drew Smyly.
Rays Strike Early
The Rays started the game off slowly with Logan Forsythe striking out and Logan Morrison grounding out to first base. But with two strikes, Evan Longoria got the party started with a double off the center field wall. Big Swinging Corey Dickerson followed by hammering a first-pitch fastball right down the middle, sending it into the upper deck in right field.
Pineda's reaction says it all. @MCoreyDickerson's first homer at Yankee Stadium was a no-doubter. #RaysUphttps://t.co/s9zZ4wGm8R— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) April 24, 2016
Steve Pearce followed with a single lined up the middle, and Brad Miller jumped on a 1-0 fastball that he lined over Brett Gardner's head in left field to score Pearce. After Michael Pineda fell behind 2-0 to Steven Souza, Jr. he threw a fastball over the plate that Souza sent into the left-field seats to put the Rays up 5-0.
.@SouzaJr's HR marked the 15th time a visitor left the yard on his b-day at Yankee Stadium, new or old. #RaysUphttps://t.co/ylErQ7IuA2— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) April 24, 2016
Kevin Kiermaier added a double down the right field line before Curt Casali popped up to Starlin Castro to end the inning.
Smyly Continues his Impressive Start to the Season
Before Drew Smyly even touched the mound, he found himself with a five run lead. Smyly has been the most consistently-great starter for the Rays early in this season, but in past games, there was no offensive support.
After working around a two out single in the first inning by Carlos Beltran, Smyly struck out Alex Rodriguez and Brian McCann swinging before ending the inning with a called strike three against Chase Headley. Smyly only needed 13 pitches to strike out the side.
In the fourth inning Smyly found himself in some trouble after he hit Gardner with a curve ball (in the helmet, as Gardner tried to duck out of the way). Two outs later, Alex Rodriguez crushed a fastball off the left field wall that just didn't have the height to get out of the park. That hit drove in the Yankees only run of the game.
In the fifth inning, the Yankees put up another threat following a leadoff walk by Chase Headley and a single by Starlin Castro. Smyly wiggled off the hook after inducing a weak flyball by Didi Gregorius and groundouts by Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner to quash the threat.
The sixth inning saw Smyly get into a jam once again when Mark Teixeira and Dustin Ackley hit back to back singles with one out. Smyly struck out Brian McCann and induced a weak fly ball to centerfield by Chase Headley.
Smyly's outing ended after a seven pitch seventh inning. Smyly allowed one run on six hits while striking out six, walking one, and hitting a batter.
Rays Offense Tacks On Runs
The first pitch of the third inning was sent into the left field bleachers for Steve Pearce's first home run as a Ray.
First homer for @WayneTwentyOcho in a #Rays uni. It's our 3rd today. #RaysUp— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) April 24, 2016
Birthday boy Souza hit his second home run of the game on an opposite field rocket that found the second deck on a line that just stayed fair.
No birthday message on the board for @SouzaJr, so he left the park—twice. #RaysUp— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) April 24, 2016
Logan Forsythe joined the party with an opposite field homer to the short porch in right field.
#RaysUp, 8-1, in the 9th after Forsythe's solo shot.— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) April 24, 2016
WATCH: https://t.co/RpDChWjwGN pic.twitter.com/eQk8tt4TVS
The Rays Played a Good Defensive Game
The team put up one of their best defensive efforts of the year. In the first inning Miller and Pearce combined for a nice dive and force play at second to end the inning.
In the fourth inning with a runner on first Longoria made a diving play on a groundball by Mark Teixiera down the line that sent Longoria into foul territory and make an impressive throw from his knees to get the sluggish runner and save an extra base hit.
Nope, can't hit it there. #RaysUp #SCTop10— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) April 24, 2016
WATCH: https://t.co/ejxrEkkLh3 pic.twitter.com/r8u5A9XJmQ
The Other Debut
Jhan Marinez, called up to replace Blake Snell, made his first appearance as a Ray and shut down the Yankees in the ninth. Marinez's most impressive pitch was an 86 MPH slider to strike out McCann for the second out of the inning. It was very low leverage, but he looks like he might have some potential.
The Rays took advantage of mistakes and put runs on the board early for the first time this year and saw the game play out in a relatively stress free manner. Let's hope this is the start the Rays needed against RHP to get them on track.
The Rays salvaged a 3-3 road trip. They head back to the Trop to face the Orioles for three games starting tomorrow night. Hopefully Chris Archer finds his control that been MIA this season before the start tomorrow.
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