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Rays 4, Yankees 0: Dominant Pitching Continues

Tampa Bay Rays pitchers combine to shutout the New York Yankees.

Tampa Bay Rays v New York Yankees Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

How do the Tampa Bay Rays follow an almost perfect game? By shutting out the New York Yankees in Yankee Stadium for the first time since 2013 apparently.

The first inning set the tone for pitching ruling the day. Gerrit Cole only needed seven pitches to get through the first inning facing the minimum three Rays hitters. Rays Opener Jalen Beeks responded by only needing six pitches in the bottom of the first thanks in part to the Yankees swinging at all of his pitches. Beeks finished with a very efficient 2.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, and 2 K while only throwing 19 pitches.

The Rays blew an opportunity to put runs up early against Cole in the second inning. After recording two outs the Rays had runners on first and second thanks to a single from Ji-Man Choi that Isiah Kiner-Falefa could not field in time to make the out at first. Choi moved to second on a walk to Taylor Walls but the inning ended with Jose Siri striking out. With Cole on the mound it felt like the opportunities will be few and the Rays needed to capitalize on having a runner in scoring position.

The Yankees attempted to score first in the bottom of the second with a failed two-out rally of their own. Jose Trevino hit a single to give the first baserunner and moved to second when Kiner-Falefa was hit by a pitch. Aaron Hicks ended the hope by striking out swinging in one of a few moments where he would not help the Yankees cause in this game.

Sometimes you just have to tip your cap to a great defensive effort and the top of the third was one of those times. With one out, Yandy Diaz hit his 22nd double of the season and was followed by a Brandon Lowe walk. With only one out recorded and Randy Arozarena at the plate it was the prime opportunity for the hot bat to keep striking. Arozarena hit a well-struck ball with a xBA of .740. The only issue was Kiner-Falefa went airborne to rob the hit and made the throw to second to close the inning with a double play.

Ryan Yarbrough took the mound in the third inning for the Rays. Things got interesting and slightly heated in Anthony Rizzo’s at-bat which was quite the chain of events. With a 1-1 count Rizzo attempted a bunt that finished foul to make it 1-2. Two pitches later Yarbrough threw a curve ball that was breaking in and it made contact with Rizzo’s right knee. As Rizzo was making his way to first base the pitch was ruled a ball and deemed that he did not attempt to avoid the pitch. After some heated discussion the at-bat ended with a swinging strikeout.

It was a close call and one that is not usually made. However, it is pretty clear looking at how his lead leg plants and then moves back into the path of the ball that he was not trying to avoid the pitch which is required per the rulebook to be awarded first base.

The Rays put the first run on the board in the fourth inning thanks to a defensive blunder. David Peralta hit a fly ball to center field that Aaron Hicks turned around on and then completely lost it. The miscue resulted in a triple for Peralta a day after his birthday. Isaac Paredes hit a RBI-single in the next at-bat to give the Rays a 1-0 lead. The way the pitchers were dealing in this game it really felt like one run might be enough in this one.

The Yankees failed to capitalize in the bottom of the fourth. A fielding error by Yarbrough allowed Andrew Benintendi to reach first base safely on a sacrifice bunt attempt to give the Yankees runners on first and second. Jose Trevino followed with a bunt that didn’t make it past the dirt in front of the catcher and Francisco Mejia made an incredible throw to third to get Miguel Andujar out. New York still managed to load the bases thanks to a single from Kiner-Falefa bringing Hicks to the plate with one out.

Over the course of three pitches Yarbrough got redemption and Hicks’ struggles continued. Hicks hit a ball straight to Yarbs that was properly fielded and thrown to Mejia to start a 1-2-3 double play to close out the inning.

Gerrit Cole had a great performance on the mound in Monday night’s game but the Yankees provided no run support. He finished with 6.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, and 6 K on 104 pitches.

Yarbrough was also impressive and got credit for his first win of the season. He finished with 4.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, and 6K on 58 pitches. He shut down Yankees hitters and barely allowed any hard contact.

In a one-run game the Yankees once again tried to get things going in the bottom of the eighth inning but were not successful. Gleyber Torres hit a leadoff single that was erased by Aaron Judge grounding into a double play in the next at-bat. Brooks Raley came in and got Rizzo to strikeout swinging to end the inning.

The Rays added some insurance runs to remove most of the drama from the ninth inning. It started with runners on first and second with two outs thanks to walks to Paredes and Walls from Yankees reliever Wandy Peralta. Lou Trevino came in to replace Peralta and Jose Siri hit a RBI-single to extend the Rays lead. A Mejia hit by pitch gave the Rays the bases loaded for Yandy Diaz. Diaz hit a single to right field scoring Walls and Siri to make it a 4-0 Rays lead.

The bottom of the ninth should have been uneventful except the Yankees decided to challenge a play where Donaldson was out twice. Donaldson drew a leadoff walk and then was called out on a tag from Walls on a Benintendi grounder. The Rays also threw the ball and tagged second base before Donaldson reached the base which should have solidified him as being out. After review, the call stood and the Yankees had their second out of the inning. A Jose Trevino flyout concluded the game.

Salute to the Rays pitchers for shutting out the Yankees and not allowing a walk until the ninth inning. These are the performances a team with October aspirations needs down the stretch. As more players return from injury it will be interesting to see what the ceiling of this team is.

The Rays have won three games in a row and the Yankees are continuing to struggle. They have a chance to win the series tomorrow when LHP Jeffrey Springs (4-3, 2.56) takes the mound for the Rays against LHP Nestor Cortes (9-3, 2.67). First pitch is at 7:05pm ET.