The Rays entered this Wednesday Night competition with a series win already in hand and a chance to sweep the Yankees, and nearly had one on the backs of Yandy Diaz and Francisco Mejia, but a rain delay and wild pitching (for both sides) in extra innings made this a high scoring affair.
Let’s start with the 10th inning.
Aroldis Chapman got the call in extras and was wild as can be, walking Isaac Paredes and Taylor Walls to load the bases alongside the ghost runner.
Chapman was finding success thus far with his breaking ball, but with two outs on the board, Francisco Mejia then stepped in and was surprisingly swinging away at fastballs. The approach paid off, and after two whiffs against fastballs at 97 and 98, Chapman attempted to jump Mejia’s swing with a 101 mph fastball but Mejia had the timing down perfectly.
A groundball laced up the right field line became a bases clearing double, giving the Rays a 7-4 lead.
Jalen Beeks got the call in the bottom of the frame and quickly got into trouble (as is the design of the ghost runner) by allowing a single and then a four pitch walk. Beeks clearly had as little feel for the change up as Chapman did his fastball.
With the bases loaded and none out, Josh Donaldson then got fed two fastballs in the center of the zone, and the second one he sent to the right field porch.
I know what you’re thinking: That’s right field in Yankee Stadium. In how many ballparks is that a homerun? More than you’d think: 17 out of 30.
The long story short here is neither Chapman or Beeks had their stuff tonight, but in this scenario to the home team goes the spoils.
This game should have been all Rays
Yandy Diaz was the star of the show for me in this one, as he had multiple RBI for the Rays, most notable batting a flying — soaring — Jose Siri who flew around the bases like a man possessed in the top of the third to prevent a competitive throw home.
In the fifth Diaz got to shine again with a bounding double up the left field line that scored two runners, including Siri and Mejia.
Heck, Diaz even made a Longorian play at third base:
Yeeeesshhhhh Yandy have a day pic.twitter.com/11e0p6jEmy— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) August 18, 2022
The other star on offense was Harold Ramirez, who returned to the Rays following a broken hand as the DH and hit a strong homerun to left field:
EVERYONE SAY WELCOME BACK HAROLD pic.twitter.com/lLBpPIY0eR— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) August 18, 2022
Corey Kluber gave the Rays a solid outing overall, at one point nearly retiring the Yankees in order once through the lineup save a hit by pitch. He started to miss his spots in the sixth and left one in the wheelhouse to Torres to cut the Rays lead to two runs.
But then came the rain delay.
Have you ever seen the rain?
Colin Poche nearly gave the game away after a 63 minute delay, with Pete Fairbanks getting the next call in relief but walking in the Yankees third run of the game against Aaron Judge. He followed it up with a double play groundball.
The Bronx Bombers then tied it in the eighth after Anthony Rizzo went yard off Brooks Raley.
Anthony Rizzo! Home run! Tie game! pic.twitter.com/dAB9hQ7sUf— YES Network (@YESNetwork) August 18, 2022
This one is at least a homerun in 7 of 30 ballparks, but standing there and watching it sneak over the wall seems a bit silly.
Ryan Thompson pitched a quiet ninth, despite Judge’s best efforts to give one a ride to the warning track dead center, and then it was on to extra innings.