Opening the series in New York City, the Rays looked to take back first place in the AL East from the Yankees.
Yonny Chirinos started this game for the Rays with no opener required, taking on the pitcher that seems to shut the Rays down in every start, Masahiro Tanaka.
Chirinos cruised through the first two innings, striking out New York’s newly acquired designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion in the second.
In the third inning, Chirinos hit his first road bump. Cameron Maybin singled and advanced to second on a fielding error by Kevin Kiermaier, and DJ LeMahieu drove Maybin home with a home run 410 feet to left center field, giving the Yankees a 2-0 lead.
Tanaka was nearly unhittable for the Yankees tonight, performing as well as he usually does when facing the Rays, this time allowing only two hits through five innings. Those two hits would be the only hits Tanaka would allow for the rest of the night.
Leading off the bottom of the fifth, Cameron Maybin hit a Yankee Stadium home run over the left field wall to extend New York’s lead to 3-0. The runs scored by two home runs would be the only runs that Chirinos would allow in this game, and Chirinos would go on to pitch one additional inning.
In those six innings of work, Chirinos threw 94 pitches, with 64 of those being strikes, struck out six, walked one and allowed three runs on five hits in a pitching performance that was simply fine. Jake Faria took the mound in the bottom of the seventh inning, and in a surprising twist from last year, Faria hit 96 mph on the speed gun multiple times tonight.
Faria worked 1.1 innings, striking out two and walking one while allowing three hits after throwing 37 pitches. Adam Kolarek pitched to Encarnacion and Gregorius and recorded the final two outs in the bottom of the eighth. Encarnacion went 0-for-4 with a strikeout tonight.
With 100 pitches through eight innings, Aaron Boone let Tanaka work the top of the ninth to try and finish the complete game shutout, and throw nine shutout innings Tanaka did. Tanaka made the Yankee Stadium DJ play that famous strikeout whistle ten times tonight, while allowing only two hits and walking one batter
In a game where the Rays wanted to make a statement to open the series, Masahiro Tanaka flipped the switch from his recent struggles and returned to being the dominant pitcher he usually is against the Rays. With struggling pitcher JA Happ on the mound for New York tomorrow, there is a golden opportunity for the Rays to redeem tonight’s loss.
The Rays will look to even the series tomorrow night with first pitch set to take place at 7:05 pm.