Don’t look now, but the Tampa Bay Rays are finally returning to what we know them best for- finding ways to win games. That continued on Monday night, as the Rays would defeat the Yankees in a 12 inning thriller by a final score of 4-3. The Rays have now won 5 of their last 6 games, and this could be the start of one of their vintage hot streaks. With the win, the Rays move to 36-49 on the year.
Chris Archer was the starter, and he turned in another great performance. Archer would go 7.0 innings, allowing only 2 runs, both of which came in the 3rd inning. Other than that one inning, he was on point the whole night. His command was spot on for the most part, and when that is the case, hitters are going to struggle hitting against him thanks to his outstanding stuff. Archer has an amazing 1.64 ERA in his last 9 starts, and honing in the consistency of his command has been the reason he is pitching so well. Behind Archer, Jake McGee did what Jake McGee always does by throwing a scoreless 8th inning. McGee’s ERA sits at a miniscule 1.24 ERA this year, and you would have to think that body of work is deserving of an All-Star bid. The Rays have been using a closer-by-committee as of lately, and it was Joel Peralta‘s turn to go for the save in this one. But he could not earn the save, allowing a solo home run to Brian Roberts that tied up the game in the 9th, though honestly Peralta didn’t make a terrible pitch- Roberts just took a great swing. Grant Balfour then threw a shutout 10th inning, and Brad Boxberger followed with scoreless 11th and 12th innings, earning the save in the process.
The Rays would score first in the game thanks to a solo home run off the bat of Matt Joyce. It was Joyce’s 3rd home run and 4th extra base hit in the last two games alone. Kevin Kiermaier put the Rays ahead 2-0 with a solo home run, his 7th of the year, in the 3rd inning. Kiermaier’s performance led the way in this game, as he would go 3-5 with an RBI and a run scored. His power has really come on in the big leagues, and while it may be a bit too good to be true, he is quickly answering questions that his bat would keep in him a 4th outfielder role. The Yankees tied the game up in the bottom of the 3rd, and the game remained that way until the top of the 8th. The Rays would take the lead when Ryan Hanigan drove in Brandon Guyer with a single. Hanigan is only hitting .233 this year, but he’s had no problem coming through in the clutch, hitting .310 with runners in scoring position. Logan Forsythe then played hero in the 12th inning, driving in Guyer with his 2nd hit of the night for the go-ahead run. Forsythe is finally heating up after early season struggles, and has now gotten a hit in 8 of his last 10 games, 6 of those being multi-hit games. 4 runs in 12 innings may not be awe inspiring, but it got the job done in this game.