Just a day after reaching .500 for the first time since the early stages of the season, the Tampa Bay Rays dropped the second game of their weekend series with the New York Yankees, 3-2, in front of Tropicana Field’s first sold-out crowd since Opening Day.
It was the long ball that proved to be the big difference for the Yankees, as midseason addition Martin Prado absolutely ripped a letter-high fastball delivered from Drew Smyly to plate the first two runs of the game, which set the early tone for the contests. After that, Smyly settled down tremendously, and finished his outing with a line of seven complete innings allowing four hits and a walk while striking out 4. He now has a 2.25 ERA in his three Rays starts, striking out 19 while walking just 6 in 20 innings pitched. Drew Smyly’s effort tonight was not quite enough, but he has been excellent to begin his Rays tenure nonetheless.
Offensively speaking, the Rays couldn’t get anything going against Yankee rookie righty Shane Greene. He struck out 10 Rays in his six innings of work, but labored towards the end of his day, especially in the sixth and seventh, the two innings in which the Rays scored. Both of Tampa Bay’s runs were manufactured, with a Yunel Escobar RBI single scoring Matt Joyce in the sixth, and a Ben Zobrist groundout bringing home Logan Forsythe in the following fashion.
It was tied for the next two innings, and in almost a poetic fashion, the Captain Derek Jeter singled on a 2-2 fastball straight down the pipe to plate Brett Gardner and give the Yankees the lead. A 1-2-3 ninth inning for Yankee closer David Robertson, his 19th consecutive save attempt converted, clinched the visitors’ victory.
The problem today for the Rays was being unable to hit Greene early, and that was thanks in large part to a lively slider that he used as his put-away pitch. It’s back to the drawing board for the rest of the night, and the Rays will look to get back to .500, as well as clinch the series, tomorrow in a pitching matchup that features Hiroki Kuroda against Jeremy Hellickson in a 1:40 start.