With two games in this series completed and the Rays on the losing side in both of them against the Yankees, Blake Snell took the mound for the Rays looking to win the third game of the series and make an attempt to split the series.
Snell worked a clean first inning after allowing a leadoff hit to DJ LeMahieu, striking out Aaron Judge before picking LeMahieu off of first. Snell struck out Aaron Hicks to end the inning.
CC Sabathia took the mound for the Yankees, marking a matchup between Tampa Bay’s ace and New York’s number five pitcher that the Rays needed to capitalize on.
The Yankees scored first in this one after Brett Gardner hit a solo home run into the right field seats off of Blake Snell, giving the Yankees a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning. The Rays answered right back in the bottom half, with Mike Brosseau walking with one out and Kevin Kiermaier hitting a single after that, advancing Brosseau to third. Travis d’Arnaud hit a single to score Brosseau, tying this game at 1-1.
For the next four innings, this game would be on cruise control with neither team scoring again until the seventh inning. Blake Snell worked five innings of one-run baseball today, allowing five hits, walking two and striking out five. Snell threw 93 pitches, 62 of those for strikes. Snell worked out of a nail-biting jam in the top of the fifth to end his outing.
In the top of the sixth inning, Chaz Roe came in to replace Snell, and Roe looked to be in very good form tonight, striking out three of New York’s right-handed hitters while walking one lefty. The real highlight from Roe’s outing today was striking out Gary Sanchez on a slider that Sanchez was afraid of being hit by, even though the pitch crossed the plate right down the middle.
Jose Alvarado entered the game in the top of the seventh, hoping to end his recent pitching struggles in a lower-leverage situation, facing New York’s 8, 9 and 1 hitters. Unfortunately, Alvarado struggled again today, allowing a leadoff single to Gio Urshela before walking Mike Tauchman and turning the order over.
There was a bright spot in Alvarado’s outing today, when Alvarado induced a ground ball by LeMahieu for a double play, putting two outs on the board while moving Urshela to third. Alvarado walked the next batter, Aaron Judge, to put runners on the corners for Aaron Hicks, and Aaron Hicks drove home Urshela with a single to give the Yankees a 2-1 lead.
Alvarado threw one pitch to Gary Sanchez before being removed from this game for an apparent injury (a right oblique strain). Jake Faria entered the game to relieve Alvarado but walked Sanchez. With the bases loaded, Edwin Encarnacion stepped into the box, but lined out on the first pitch in the at-bat to end the inning.
CC Sabathia recorded two quick outs to begin the bottom of the seventh, but Travis d’Arnaud hit a single before Nate Lowe stepped into the box. After hitting his first career Major League home run last night, Nate Lowe hit his second home run tonight, taking Sabathia 415 deep, plating d’Arnaud and giving the Rays a 3-2 lead.
Jake Faria pitched to Brett Gardner to start the top of the eighth but allowed a leadoff walk, marking the end of Faria’s night. Faria did his job today despite two walks, ending the seventh inning bases-loaded jam without allowing any runs. Oliver Drake relieved Faria, striking out two in a hitless eighth inning. Adam Ottavino replaced Sabathia in the bottom of the eighth.
Oliver Drake stayed in to pitch the ninth inning, and Drake got DJ LeMahieu to ground out and Aaron Judge to line out to record the first two outs in the inning. With switch-hitter Aaron Hicks due up, Kevin Cash made his way to the mound and brought in Colin Poche to try and record the final out.
On a 2-2 count, Poche threw a fastball inside and Hicks turned it around for a solo home run, tying this game at 3-3. Hicks, who had not hit a home run against left-handed pitching this season, hit his first against Poche. With a 96 mph exit velocity and 37 degree launch angle, the xBA on the home run was only .110. Regardless of how fortunate Hicks’ home run was, the Rays now needed to walk this one off in order to win.
Chad Green came in to try and send this game into extra innings, and after recording two quick outs, Green looked like he would do just that.
With, in my opinion, the best walk-up song in the league, Travis d’Arnaud stepped into the batter’s box. On the first pitch by Green, d’Arnaud swung and drove Green’s pitch into the right field seats, ending this game with one smooth swing. 108 mph off the bat and with a 19 degree launch angle, this line drive just barely cleared the wall, but just barely was enough for the Rays to win tonight.
The Rays finally beat the Yankees, something that the Rays have done now three times in 12 opportunities this season. In what will hopefully turn the season’s tides in the Rays’ favor, Travis d’Arnaud delivered the game-ending blow to the Yankees and brought an excitement out of this team that was relieving to finally see again.
The Rays will look to split the series, with the final game of the four-game tilt taking place tomorrow afternoon inside of Tropicana Field at 1 pm, Charlie Morton taking the mound for the Rays against James Paxton and the Yankees.