I am certainly not the only one who gets a little grouchy when the Yankees are in town, and it’s hard to tell whose fans outnumber whose in the crowd. When the “boooo” sound rises up for a lucky strike call in the Rays favor, it baffles and frustrates.
But so it goes.
In this, double-threat Brendan McKay’s second major league game, he wasn’t quite as shiny and impressive as he’s been in his debut. The command was his biggest difficulty, as he had some struggles locating his pitches around the outside of the strike zone, with some climbing too high or too far outside.
Aaron Judge wasted no time taking advantage, belting a home run out in the first inning. McKay stabilized after that, with a few really impressive moves like a comebacker out, and a “are you seriously going to run on me?” moment where he collected a ball right on the first base line. His icy cold expressions loaning an element of humor to much of his outing, though it was obvious to see he was a bit irritated with himself for the command issues.
The Rays tied things up in the fourth with Nate Lowe’s first major league home run, a 418’ shot that a Yankees fan caught and seemed to be less than interested in surrendering.
In the fifth, McKay’s struggles caught up with him and he loaded the bases, and a well-placed single from Tauchman scored Gardner and Torres. The Yankees now led 3-1.
Mike Zunino wasn’t interested in letting the Yankees extend their lead. In the bottom of the inning he came on and hit his own home run, his fourth of the season.
The Rays continued their offensive efforts in the seventh with the bases loaded. While Tommy Pham struggled to have success, Kevin Kiermaier found the gap, scoring Brosseau and Heredia (pinch running). Brosseau had quite the night of his own with a stellar catch that took him about ten miles off third base, and two hits.
After two clean innings of work by Andrew Kittredge, Emilio Pagan came on for the eighth and was uncharacteristically off his game almost immediately. First a home run to the pinch hitting Hicks to tie the game, then a single to LeMahieu. Thankfully a double play erased the base runner, and the Rays were ultimately able to escape the inning without further damage.
Pagan pulled together in the top of the ninth to keep the score tied, and it was on to the bottom of the ninth, where the Rays were hoping to walk it off instead of going into extra innings the second night in a row.
They started it off right, getting Wendle on base, then advancing him to second. With two outs in the inning following a long Heredia at-bat, it was all up to Travis d’Arnaud who took over catching from Zunino in the eighth. d’Arnaud got a four-pitch walk with the last pitch ruled a passed ball, as Wendle advanced to third.
Now it was all up to Pham, who was 0-4 on the night and you could tell was hungry to get it done. Unfortunately he was thrown out at first and the game was destined for extra innings.
Colin Poche kept things scoreless in the top of the tenth. Hale, on for the Yankees, seemed to be struggling with his control, throwing quite a few balls, but still managed to keep the Rays from scoring batter after batter. On to 11.
Ryne Stanek came on for the 11th and Aaron Judge wasted no time hitting a bomb. Yankees lead 5-4. Then Stanek allowed two more runners on base so of course Brett Gardner hit a three-run home run with two outs, because we might as well know it’s over for sure, right?
In the bottom of the 11th things were ultimately turned over to Chapman, and though the Rays succeeded in getting two baserunners thanks to Hale, then Chapman loaded things up, bringing the potential tie run to the plate in... Tommy Pham. Unfortunately Pham was unable to make anything happen and the Yankees won 8-4.