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Rays 10, Yankees 5: A sweep, Curtissy of the AL East leaders

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In a stadium that was a house of horrors for the Rays last season, the Rays sweep the Yankees to take a half game lead in the AL East

MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at New York Yankees Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

Series finale time. Can the Rays really clinch the season series over the Yankees with a win today? Are they really about to come out of this road trip with just one loss? Halfway through this game, those answers were no. It felt like “one of those days.”

The Rays ended up with 10 runs in this game. All of them came after the 4th inning. All of their hits came after the 4th as well. The first half of this game felt like just another one of those infamously melancholy getaway games in which the Rays had already clinched the series. Even if they were to go on and in, surely it wouldn’t be as exciting as this?

Coming into this game James Paxton was carrying a 7.04 ERA across four starts. With that being said, he looked extremely effective in his last start against the Rays, striking out 11 and walking just 1 in 6.1 IP. While that outing ended on a sour note with back-to-back home runs hit by Brosseau and B-Lowe, it was Paxton’s best start of the season, and he probably should not have been out there for the 7th inning.

Going into this game, Paxton had thrown 37.1 innings in his career against the Rays, and held a 3.38 ERA, striking out 47 batters and walking just 6.

It looked like we were getting more of the same, with Paxton keeping the Rays out of the hit column until the 5th inning. He then walked Willy Adames and Manuel Margot, and a wild pitch allowed Adames to third base with just one out. Joey Wendle got the chance to be the catalyst offensively, coming up with a huge double in the 5th to tie it...

...and then the longest single ever in the 6th to give the Rays the lead once more.

As for the Rays pitching, John Curtiss was given the honor of opening the series finale on Thursday, and the Yankees took an early lead when Luke Voit took him deep in the bottom half of the first. Curtiss worked into the second, getting the first out in the frame before handing the ball over to today’s headliner.

That headliner was Trevor Richards, who gave the Rays three innings of non-disastrous work (3 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 2 SO). He wasn’t great, but let’s be real. He is, at best, the Rays seventh choice starter/headliner, and he was pitching at Yankee Stadium. So anything that’s non-disastrous is a win in my book.

As the Rays do, they threw a number of different relievers at the Yankees as the day went on, and absolutely none of them had a disastrous outing. Low standard, but when you score 10 runs that’s all you need. Diego Castillo gave up this home run to Gio Urshela, and I’m still not sure how it happened...

After Paxton departed, things went from bad to worse for the Yankees pitching staff. Adam Ottavino, who historically has performed very well against the Rays, had the worst outing of the day, recording just an out and giving up three runs.

If you had Mike Zunino homering twice at Yankee Stadium, and three times on the road trip on your bingo card then you are in luck...

If you’ve been waiting for Yandy Diaz to get his first home run of the year, you’re also in luck...

10-5 win. Beautiful. If you take away the Travis d’Arnaud three-home run game, almost nothing fun happened at Yankee Stadium last season for the Rays. This season is all kinds of weird, so why couldn’t the Rays find success in the Bronx? They could, and they did.

I wonder what it’s like writing recaps for games that aren’t wins against division rivals. Let’s hope I never find out.