Suppose the last few series weren’t urgent enough or exciting enough for New York Yankee fans. In that case, this weekend, it was upfront and in your face, over the top exciting at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx as the Yankees played their final regular-season series with their rival Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays have already clinched the AL East, so basically, they have nothing to lose, but believe it, they won’t let the Yankees off the hook. The Yankees lost the game as a ninth-inning rally failed 4-3.
The Tampa Bay Rays hate the New York Yankees for a variety of reasons. The tensions between these two teams have been building for years. So if you think for one moment that the Rays will roll over and let the Yankees win, think again. They will do anything to shame the Yankees or knock them out of a home-field advantage in the wild card. They may realign their pitching for the postseason, but you can be sure the Rays’ hitters will not let up on Yankee pitching. That pitching tonight saw starter with Nestor Cortes Jr. on the mound facing the Rays’ Shane McClanahan.
The top of the first inning saw Randy Arozarena at the plate against Cortes, he went down on strikes. Wander Franco flew out to Gallo in left. Nelson Cruz homered to the left-field stands. Yanky Diaz flew out to Rizzo in foul territory to end the half with the Rays getting on the board first. In the bottom, Gleyber Torres led off for the Yankees and got a long double to left. Anthony Rizzo flew out to right. Torres advanced on a passed ball. Aaron Judge went down on strikes. Giancarlo Stanton scorched one to right for his 97th RBI of the season, with Torres scoring. Joey Gallo struck out to end the inning tied. New York Yankees 1 Tampa Bay Rays 1.
The second inning was led off by Ji-Man Choi, who struck out.Â Manuel Margot reached on a roller to the pitcher. Joey Wendle flew out to a diving Joey Gallo. Francisco Mejia singled in a knockdown by Odor but couldn’t get the out. Kevin Kiermaier singled with Margot scoring, but Mejia was called out trying to reach third for the final out. At the bottom, Gio Urshela led off for the Yankees and ground out softly to second. Brett Gardner singled beyond short. Kyle Higashioka flew out to right. Rougie Odor getting a chance to play grounded out to third. Rays 2 Yankees 1.
The top of the third inning was led off by Arozarena, who went down on strikes. Franco flew out to Gardner in center. Cruz went down on strikes for a 1-2-3 inning for Cortes Jr. At the bottom, Torres ground out to short. Rizzo struck out. Judge chopped out softly to short to end the inning. Rays 2 and Yankees 1.
Yandy Diaz led off the fourth inning by flying out to Gardner in center. Choi struck out swinging. Margot flew out to Gallo in far left for another 1-2-3 inning for Cortes Jr.Â At the bottom, Stanton led off against new pitcher Pete Fairbanks struck out swinging. Gallo ground out to second. Urshela singled to left on a ball that couldn’t be handled. Brett Gardner went down on strikes to end the inning. Rays 2 Yankees 1.
The fifth inning was led off by Joey Wendle that ground out to short. Mejia flew out to Judge in right field. Kiermaier tripled to center, and that was the end of the night for Nestor Cortes. Arozarena faced the new Yanke pitcher Clay Holmes and struck out to end the half. Higashiokia led off the bottom by grounding out to short. Odor ground out to short. Torres struck out swinging. Rays 2 Yankees 1.
Wander Franco led off the sixth inning bay ground out to short. Cruz ground out to Torres for the second out. Diaz walked, bringing pitcher Wandy Peralta to face Choi, who struck out to end the half. At the bottom, Anthony Rizzo lined out to first. Judge who has been quiet tonight singled to right-center. Stanton went down on strikes. Gallo flew out to right field to end another scoreless inning. Rays 2 Yankees 1.
Margot, the Yankee killer, led off the seventh inning. He has won four of his worst nightmare. Margot struck out. Mejias singled. Kiermaier walked after being hit by a pitch. Arozarena faced new Yankee pitcher Loaisiga and walked to load the bases with Rays. Franco struck out on a 100 mph fastball to leave the bases loaded with Rays. At the bottom, Urshela led off the bottom by striking out. Gardner ground singled. Higashioka ground out, and Odor struck out to end the inning. Tampa Bay Rays 2 New York Yankees 1.
At the top of the eighth inning, with Domingo German on the mound for the Yankees, Cruz ground out. Diaz singled. Diaz stole second. Choi struck out. Margot stuck out swinging to end the half and strand Diaz. At the bottom, Odor ground out to first. Torres led off the bottom of the eighth by flying out to left. Rizzo struck out swinging to end the inning. Rays 2 Yankees 1.
Joey Wendle led off the ninth facing Domingo German and struck out for German’s third strikeout in a row. Mejia walked. Phillips was brought in to pinch run. Kiermaier walked, knocking German out of the game replaced by Albert Abreu. Randy Arozarena, with two on and one out, reached on a force out with Mijia going to third. Arozarena stole second.Â With two on and two outs, Franco got a two-run single for the three-run lead over the Yankees. Cruz flew out to Gardner to end the half.
At the bottom, with the Yankees needing a miracle, Aaron Judge took to the plate and ground out to third. Stanton doubled to left. Stanton stole third. Gallo got a bunt single scoring Stanton. Urshela singled to right field, moving Gallo to second. Tyler Wade was brought in to pinch-run for Urshela. Brett Gardner, with two on and one out, singled to right driving in Gallo. Gary Sanchez, pinch-hitting for Higashioka, struck out for the second out of the inning. Rougie Odor went down on strikes to end the game.
The final score was the Tampa Bay Rays 4 and the New York Yankees 3. The winning pitcher was Luis Head; the loser was Nestor Cortes jr., with the save going to Andrew Kittridge as the Yankees rally in the ninth fell short.