Two things happened this game. Let’s talk about the fun one first.
The Rays, for the first time ever, hit four home runs in a single inning. Already behind by seven runs,* the Rays offense give it a good run themselves in the fourth.
Masahiro Tanaka started the inning off with an 88 mph fastball/cutter that just sort of hung up in the upper portion of the strike zone. It’s the type of pitch that’s either a mistake or an insult, and Bobby Wilson was having none of it. Or maybe he was having all of it, pulling a homer to left.
After Logan Forsythe struck out and Kevin Kiermaier grounded out, Tanaka faced Evan Longoria, and actually gave him a decent pitch. It was a changeup at the bottom of the zone. But Longoria saw it well and also hit a homer to left.
In the next at bat, Tanaka presented Brad Miller what looked like a breaking ball that didn’t break, and just traveled in a straight line to the top of the zone. Easy swing, home run number 30.
And finally, Corey Dickerson made it a record. His offering was a perfectly good pitch—changeup right on the corner, down and away. He hit it out to straight center. Pure power.
*So yeah, about those seven runs.
Alex Cobb got rocked, putting the Rays far behind in the first two innings. But here’s the really weird thing. It was one of the best one-and-a-third outings a pitcher could have.
Seriously, Cobb didn’t seem that bad.
His fastball only averaged 90.6 mph, which is maybe a tad lower than he’d like, and his changeup, at 85.8 mph was maybe a little too close in velo, but Cobb was getting ground balls. Just none of them turned into outs.
In the first inning, Brett Gardner singled on a ground into right, Jacoby Ellsbury walked (that’s on Cobb), Gary Sanchez chopped up the middle to score a run. Then Brian McCann chopped just between the second baseman and first for another run. Then Mark Teiceira popped up—this would be one of only two balls in play for Cobb that turned into an out. After he got the second out with a strikeout, Cobb once more got a Yankee player (this time Rnald Torreyes) to chop the ball into the ground, and once more it found a hole up the middle. Run scores.
In the second inning, the Yankees led off with two more singles before Cobb got his one other ball in play out. But then Gary Sanchez broke things open with a strongly hit home run off a backdoor sinker that just caught way too much of the plate.
Another single and then a line-drive double given up, and Steve Geltz was in the game.
Final score, 11-5 Yankees.
But let’s think about the home runs.