Fresh off of a series win against the Baltimore Orioles, the Rays looked to keep the series-winning momentum going, welcoming the New York Yankees to Tropicana Field for a four-game series.
We will not go quietly into the night! We will not vanish without a fight! We're going to live on! We're going to survive! Today we celebrate our Independence Day! https://t.co/VOS8JBkMGq #RaysUp pic.twitter.com/sfqWAXCFSk— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) July 4, 2019
Yonny Chirinos took the mound to start this game for the Rays, facing off against Yankees left-handed starter JA Happ. Chirinos started this game with a three-pitch strikeout of the nearly unstoppable DJ LeMahieu.
The Rays made sure to pounce on JA Happ early in the bottom of the first, with Tommy Pham hitting a line drive single to get on base with one out in the inning. After Austin Meadows struck out, Avisail Garcia hit a double to deep center field to plate Pham and give the Rays an early 1-0 lead. Mike Brosseau hit two booming foul balls, one of them hitting a catwalk, but ultimately stranded Garcia to end the inning.
The Yankees answered back in the top of the third, with Mike Ford hitting a leadoff single and Mike Tauchman doing the same, plating Ford to tie this game at 1-1. After Chirinos recorded two outs, Tauchman advanced to second on a wild pitch.
With two strikes against Aaron Hicks and two outs in the top of the third, Yonny Chirinos induced a check-swing that neither home plate umpire Ted Barrett nor third base umpire Lance Barksdale called correctly, allowing Hicks to double on the very next pitch and score Tauchman. At this point, this game would have still been tied had this check-swing been correctly called a swinging strike.
JA Happ was pulled in the bottom of the sixth, throwing 5.1 innings for the Yankees before making way to right-handed reliever Adam Ottavino. Ottavino struck out recently-recalled first baseman Nate Lowe before getting Willy Adames to ground out to end the inning.
Edwin Encarnacion hit a solo home run to lead off the seventh inning, extending New York’s lead to 3-1. Yonny Chirinos worked seven good innings tonight, striking out five and walking one while allowing three runs on five hits. Chirinos threw 101 pitches with 66 of them being strikes. Tommy Kahnle relieved Ottavino to pitch in the bottom half of the seventh.
Jake Faria entered this game in the top of the eighth, pitching one terrific inning with a walk of Aaron Hicks and three strikeouts against Brett Gardner, DJ LeMahieu and Gary Sanchez. Zack Britton was called upon in the bottom half of the eighth, not allowing any runs and sending this one into the ninth. Andrew Kittredge relieved Faria and worked a hitless ninth.
Aroldis Chapman entered the game to try and close it out for the Yankees. Nate Lowe walked to begin the inning and following a strikeout by Adames, Joey Wendle roped a double into right-center field to bring this game within one. Nate Lowe may or may not have actually tagged the plate, but a replay review could not determine if Lowe missed the plate.
With Guillermo Heredia at the plate, Joey Wendle advanced to third on a wild pitch by Chapman. Heredia, with a 2-2 count, needed to lay off of anything that was not a strike. Chapman began his delivery, released the pitch and gave Heredia a pitch he could not swing at, throwing a 100mph fastball in-between Sanchez’ legs and to the backstop, allowing Joey Wendle to score from third. Tie game! 3-3 in the bottom of the ninth.
Following the wild pitch, Chapman allowed a single to Guillermo Heredia, a single by Yandy Diaz and walked Tommy Pham, but Austin Meadows struck out and stranded the bases loaded to send this game into extra innings.
In the top of the 10th, Kevin Cash brought in Oliver Drake to pitch. Drake walked Gio Urshela to begin the inning, then walked Aaron Judge, although once again there was a controversial check-swing with two strikes that was not determined to be a swing, this time first base umpire Nic Lentz making the call.
Brett Gardner hit a bunt single to load the bases, and that marked the end of Drake’s night. Emilio Pagan replaced Drake and inherited a bases loaded and no outs situation. Following a first-pitch ball, DJ LeMahieu hit a ball into left field and drove home two runs, giving the Yankees a 5-3 lead. Pagan struck out Aaron Hicks to record the first out before Gary Sanchez stepped into the batter’s box.
On one very loud swing, Gary Sanchez extended New York’s lead to 8-3, sending Pagan’s pitch 461 feet into the left field second deck seats. Adam Kolarek came in and closed the inning out without allowing any additional runs to score.
Luis Cessa was brought in to pitch in the bottom of the 10th, and the Rays offense quickly pounced on Cessa. Nate Lowe walked after Avisail Garcia struck out, and Willy Adames singled to put two runners on with only one out.
Joey Wendle struck out on three pitches, bringing Travis d’Arnaud up to the plate with two on and two outs. d’Arnaud put a run on the board for the Rays, hitting a single and scoring Lowe. Guillermo Heredia drew a walk to load the bases and bring the tying run up to the plate, Yandy Diaz. A pitching change by the Yankees brought David Hale out, and Hale induced the game-ending ground ball from Diaz to end this game, 8-4.
In a game that seemed over as soon as New York’s closer entered the game, since Chapman has never allowed a run against the Rays, the Rays fought back hard and did not back down against seemingly insurmountable odds. Not capitalizing on that momentum and a lack of quality pitching in extra innings cost the Rays a game that they could have had.
The second game of this four-game series will take place tomorrow night at 7 pm inside of Tropicana Field, with Brendan McKay taking the mound for the Rays against Masahiro Tanaka and the Yankees.