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Yankees 4, Rays 0: Chirinos strong in return, Bats quiet

Tanaka shuts down offense.

MLB: New York Yankees at Tampa Bay Rays Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Yonny Chirinos returned from the minors for his first MLB start since April 28. He dealt with a forearm strain and missed quite a bit of time and was scheduled to be on a 80-85 pitch limit for the evening.

Chirinos was up for the task of facing the New York Yankees lineup. In the first inning he allowed back-to-back singles off the bats of Brett Gardner and Aaron Judge. After getting ahead of Judge 0-2 with a beautiful slider down and away he hung a slider middle-middle that he was fortunate wasn’t sent into orbit. He rebounded from the tough start by striking out Giancarlo Stanton on three pitches. The third strike went about 55 feet and got away from Jesus Sucre allowing the runners to advance to second and third. Didi Gregorius hit a weak chopper that just cleared the pitcher to score the first run of the game. Chirinos struck out Miguel Andujar swinging to end the threat.

Chrinos sailed smoothly through the Yankees lineup until the fifth when a 3-2 two seamer ran into Brandon Drury for a hit by pitch with one out. Neil Walker followed with a single moving Drury to third before he would be removed from the game due to the injured arm/hand. Andrew Romine hit a soft grounder to Matt Duffy at third base that avoided the double play or the play at home with the runner going on contact for the second run.

Heading into the bottom of the fifth the Rays hadn’t gotten a runner on base. CJ Cron changed things with a liner up the middle on a 0-2 hanging slider. Masahiro Tanaka was visibly annoyed with the missed location. Ji-Man Choi worked a walk to give the Rays their first threat of the game. Mallex Smith hit a sharp grounder to the first baseman that was able to be converted into a double play.

In the sixth Jesus Sucre hit a flare over the shortstop’s head for a single. Kevin Kiermaier hit a sharp grounder to the second baseman for another inning ending double play.

With Chirinos still on the mound in the seventh he found himself in a jam after a Andujar led off the inning with a single ahead of a “double” off the bat of Greg Bird. Bird hit a soft fly ball right down the left field line. Duffy and Jake Bauers had a long way to run to get to the ball, but the ball had a lot of hangtime. It seems there was some miscommunication between the two players that allowed it to fall. Bauers had the far easier catch as Duffy had his back to the play, but somebody had to catch it. Chrinos got Tyler Wade to strike out swinging. The decision was made to intentionally walk Neil Walker. Romine hit a sacrifice fly to end the night for Chirinos and extend the Yankees lead to 3-0. Chih-Wei Hu came in relief and got Gardner to popup to Duffy in foul territory.

Chirinos threw a very good 6.2 innings allowing three runs on six hits while striking out six, walking one, and hitting a batter. The Rays really couldn’t have asked for anything more out of Chirinos in his return to the majors. The defense could’ve helped him out on the Bird “double.”

In the eighth Hu struck out the side. He struck out the middle of the Yankees lineup going through Judge, Stanton, and Gregorius.

Andujar led off the ninth with a ground-rule double over the Crawford Cutout. The Yankees extended the lead to 4-0 on Walker’s soft liner in front of Bauers in left field.

The Rays were unable to put together much against Tanaka. Tanaka was good and got the double plays when the Rays put any threat on the bases. Tanaka allowed three hits and only walked one while striking out nine in the 105 pitch complete game shutout.

Tomorrow the Rays look to complete the series victory in the matinee starting at 12:10 PM.