Roberto Hernandez had been very good at home this season, with a 2-1 record and a 2.92 ERA at Tropicana Field heading into tonight’s game against the New York Yankees. Unfortunately, Hernandez was unable to replicate his success tonight, as the Rays lost 9-4.
The Yankees got to Hernandez in the second. After a double and an infield single put runners on first and second with one out, Lyle Overbay ripped a double to right, plating both runners as the Yankees took a 2-0 lead. Overbay scored one batter later, as Jayson Nix singled to center. New York threatened to blow the game open that inning, as they loaded the bases with two out, but Hernandez escaped the jam.
Hernandez got into more trouble in the fourth. With two outs, Chris Stewart singled, and Brett Gardner followed with a home run to right. After walking Robinson Cano, Hernandez got Vernon Wells to ground out to end the inning, which also signaled the end of his night. For the game, Hernandez gave up five runs on six hits and three walks. When David Price comes back, the Rays may have to consider whether or not to put Hernandez in the bullpen and keep Odorizzi, especially if he pitches well in his next couple of starts.
That five run lead seemed even bigger than it was, as Yankees starter David Phelps was moving down the Rays. Through that point, they had yet to get a baserunner, and Phelps was getting quick out after quick out. New York seemingly blew the game open in the fifth off Cesar Ramos. The Yankees loaded the bases with one out, and Ramos forced in a run by walking Nix. A base hit drove in another run, and a third came in when Cano was hit by a pitch with two outs, giving the Yankees an 8-0 lead.
But the Rays showed some fight. James Loney broke up the burgeoning perfect game with a double in the fifth, and the Rays got on the board in the next inning. With runners on first and second to start the frame, Matthew Joyce doubled, driving in the Rays first run. A groundout and a scrifice fly drove in two more, and the Rays cut the lead to 8-3.
However, the Rays were unable to get any closer, as the Yankees scored again in the top of the seventh before the Rays got that run back in the bottom of the inning. There was a bit of a frightening moment in the bottom of the eighth however, as Ben Zobrist hit a sharp line drive up the middle, striking Phelps in the arm. He left the game immediately, but did not appear to be in much pain. This was after Curtis Granderson had to leave with what was later diagnosed to be a fractured knuckle after he was hit by a pitch.
Phelps picked up the win in the Yankees 9-4 victory, giving up four runs on six hits in 7.2 innings, striking out three. For the Rays, Jamey Wright did an excellent job to preserve the bullpen, pitching three innings in relief and only allowing one run. Kelly Johnson was 2-4 with a run scored and a triple in the loss.