Evan Longoria came up clutch today and batted in two runs, but it wouldn’t be enough as a rough fifth inning for the Tampa Bay defense gave the Yankees their first, and only, lead of the game. With the 4-2 loss the Rays dropped the rubber match of the weekend series.
Rays’ starter Jeremy Hellickson was nearly perfect through four innings, but he got roughed up in the top of the fifth, an inning which he gave up four hits and three runs, as well as a walk. After getting a flyout and strikeout to start the inning, Hellickson walked Stephen Drew, Hellickson drove Brett Gardner to his final strike with two runners in scoring position. But, Gardner took a knee-high pitch over the mound and through the middle to score Drew and Martin Prado. Jacoby Ellsbury would single into left field to score Gardner two batters later, and while Hellickson only gave up three runs, the deficit felt like a ten run one as opposed to a two run one.
Supplying all of the offense for Tampa Bay today was Longoria, as he hit into an RBI groundout in the opening frame to give the Rays the initial 1-0 lead. Later he singled into left field to bring home Matt Joyce in the bottom of the seventh to cut the Yankee lead to 3-2. The only Ray to have a multi-hit game was Joyce, and the 5-9 hitters, including a pinch hit appearance from Brandon Guyer and a Curt Casali at-bat after becoming a defensive replacement, went 0-for in the game today. The Rays finished the game with only five hits and committed two errors in the field.
Yankee starting pitcher Hiroki Kuroda pitched six incredible innings, and saw his appearance come to an end in the seventh in typical rally-Rays fashion – taking advantage of a laboring pitcher in his final inning or so – but outside of that, the Rays offense could only scatter two hits.
The Rays will have an off-day before what is sure to be an emotional series this week at the Trop as the Detroit Tigers come to the Sunshine State. Oh yeah, and some guy named David Price is supposed to start the finale Thursday.