It seems like every time I turn around the Rays are playing the Yankees (no one point out the regularity with which divisional rivals play, I know, but it feels like 190 times a season, not 19). And with the Yankees maintaining a strong lead in the AL East, the games between these two clubs feels like they matter more than usual.
This time around it was a battle of the aces (it feels exceptionally strange to call Shane McClanahan the team’s “ace” but at this point I think he’s earned himself the label for 2022). The Yankees had Gerrit Cole.
In the top of the first, McClanahan had one of the only red marks in his game column when, with two outs, he gave up a solo home run to Anthony Rizzo. In the bottom of the inning Cole likewise made a rare slip-up, allowing Choi to reach on a two-out walk, but Choi would not be able to even up the score.
The second inning was a 1-2-3 affair for both sides, but the Rays lost Kiermaier to an uncomfortable-looking swing that was later ruled to be left hip inflammation and he’s day-to-day as of this moment, but I guess we’ll see.
I won’t bore you, all the way through inning four it was 1-2-3 for both sides.
The Yankees started to chip away at McClanahan in the top of the fifth, starting with a one-out Donaldson single, followed by a single to Hicks. Trevino walked to load the bases, but an inning-ending double play managed to end the threat. The Rays returned the favor to Cole in the bottom of the inning as Phillips got the second walk of the game for the club, then Josh Lowe walked right after him. The two baserunners weren’t able to convert into actual runs though.
Rizzo collected another hit in the sixth in the form of a two-out single, but did not score. That would be the end of the night for McClanahan, whose final line was 6.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 8 K, 1 HR on 92 pitches. The Rays, meanwhile, went down in order in the sixth, and that home run in the first continued to haunt.
Ryan Thompson came on in relief and immediately gave up a double to Torres, who then stole third. Trevino then safely reached first on an error by Choi, allowing Torres to score and putting the Yankees up 2-0. The Rays went down in order in the bottom of the inning.
Calvin Faucher was up next from the Rays’ bullpen. He gave up a walk to Judge, who then stole second. Judge did not score, so good job to Faucher. Bottom of the inning and I’d genuinely failed to realize Cole was having a no-hitter until Paredes singled to end it. Josh Lowe then hit a loooooong fly that was sadly caught by Judge and did not tie the game. It was, however, the end of the game for Cole. Mejia then hit a well-placed double down the first-base line, putting two men in scoring position. A cute little infield knock from Diaz managed to score Paredes to give the Rays their first run of the night. Margot then singled to score Mejia on some very ugly Yankees fielding, though no errors occurred. The game was tied. Choi then got a walk to bump Margot into scoring position. Anyway, sorry about that scoreless innings streak, Clay.
It was Jason Adam’s turn to take the mound, hoping to keep the Yankees from gaining the lead. A one-out single to Donaldson wasn’t a great start. It gets worse, because Hicks hit a triple over Margot’s head to score Donaldson, and Margot did not get up after hitting the wall. On the replay it was clear how badly Margot was hurt from his face, and the medical cart came out to help him off the field. Trevino then hit a sac fly to score Hicks.
With the game no longer tied, the Rays were just hoping for a shot to claw back a second time. Brujan got a leadoff walk, and Phillips was pinch-hit with Ramirez. Paredes reached on a fielder’s choice where the ball just kind of got thrown away to center, and left both men safe. Anyway, the Rays didn’t score again and lost the game. Womp womp.
Final: Yankees 4, Rays 2