Facing the Yankees in the middle game of the weekend series, the Rays looked to bounce back tonight following a one-run loss last night, with newly acquired catcher Travis d’Arnaud making his Rays debut.
Ryne Stanek opened this game for the Rays, and as he has done many times this season, Stanek had a scoreless outing prior to handing the ball over to the bulk guy. Yonny Chirinos would be that bulk guy today, coming in to pitch after Stanek threw two strong innings allowing one hit and a recording a strikeout on 26 pitches.
Avisail Garcia greeted Yankees starting pitcher CC Sabathia in the second inning with a home run to center field, giving the Rays an early 1-0 lead. Hitting the ball 109 mph off of the bat, Garcia’s home run went 407 feet.
In the next inning, with Yandy Diaz at the plate, the very first pitch was launched into the left field stands for a home run to give the Rays a 2-0 lead. Diaz’ line drive home run had a launch angle of only 18 degrees, but the ball was hit 114 mph for Yandy Diaz’ eighth home run on the young season.
Yonny Chirinos found himself in some trouble in the fifth inning, as a double by Clint Frazier scored Gleyber Torres to cut the Rays lead in half, making it a 2-1 ballgame. In the sixth inning, Chirinos looked rough as he allowed DJ LeMahieu to hit a solo home run to plate the tying run.
The sixth inning would be Chirinos’ last inning. With four innings of work, two runs allowed and two strikeouts, Chirinos had an okay outing while not letting things get out of hand.
In the bottom of the sixth, CC Sabathia was lifted for Jonathan Holder in a decision that Yankees manager Aaron Boone might regret in hindsight. Avisail Garcia opened the inning off with a leadoff single, and following two quick outs, things in the inning heated up.
Attempting to steal second base, Garcia slid into the bag and found himself needing to get back up to sprint towards third, as Gary Sanchez threw the ball poorly to second and past the second baseman. Guillermo Heredia walked to put runners on at the corners.
Willy Adames hit a grounder to DJ LeMahieu and LeMahieu couldn’t field the ball cleanly, scoring Garcia to give the Rays a 3-2 lead. With Heredia on second and Adames at first, Ji-Man Choi hit a grounder into the shift but softly enough to leg out a single. Heredia, meanwhile was sprinting on contact and scored to extend the lead to 4-2.
Diego Castillo was summoned upon to pitch in the seventh inning, and after only throwing 11 pitches and allowing no hits, he came back out in the eighth inning to once again quiet the Yankees bats, throwing two successful innings to keep the lead in tact.
The bottom of the eighth started an electric ending to this game, with Austin Meadows hitting a single to get things going. Two outs preceded Ji-Man Choi’s plate appearance, where he hit a single back to the pitcher, who couldn’t make a play on the ball.
Yandy Diaz stepped up to the plate, with one home run already under his belt, and launched his second home run of the game into the right field seats, Yandy’s ninth home run on the season. 7-2 Rays.
Jose Alvarado closed things out in the top of the ninth inning, and although a save wasn’t recorded, Alvarado struck out two while securing the 7-2 victory over the Yankees.
The Rays finally capitalized on opportunities with runners in scoring position, and the bullpen did a great job preventing the two runs allowed by Chirinos to cost them the game. The Rays will look to secure the series win in the rubber match of the series, which will take place tomorrow at 1 pm.