There were two things that the Rays had to improve tonight if they were going to win. 1)David Price was going to have to bounce back after some really tough outings. 2)The Rays were going to have to score against C.C. Sabathia. Check and check. The Rays really showed up to play as Brian Anderson mentioned a few times. Oddly enough, they played a more Yankee style of baseball, showing a lot of power, but they managed to finish the contest well under three hours. Essentially they played a perfect ballgame and came away with a 5-1 victory.
It’s unusually easy to recap the scoring in tonight’s game because all of the Rays’ scoring came on solo homers, with much of the power coming from unusual sources. In the third, Casey Kotchman took a high fastball (notice that he loves pitches up there) and hit a towering homer down the right field line. The only question was whether it would be fair or foul. Kelly Shoppach followed with a homer into the second deck in left. There was some debate as to what type of pitch he hit (Anderson said change-up, Kelly thought it was a fastball) but either way it just hung right over the middle of the plate. Two outs later, Johnny Damon added a homer into the right field porch.
The Yankees pushed a run across in the fifth, but even with a runner crossing the plate, the Rays looked impressive. Andruw Jones doubled to right center with two men on and two out. Robinson Cano scored, but Ben Zobrist and Sean Rodriguez combined to throw out Russell Martin, with Shoppach using his stocky frame to make sure Martin never got to the plate.
The Rays kept up the homer barrage when Elliot Johnson slammed a 1-1 pitch into the left field seats. Evan Longoria capped the scoring with a homer to right center. It was homer number 100 in the short career for Longo. Sabathia did not pitch that well at all, but he stayed out there through eight innings. The five homers that he gave up were the most he has ever given up in a game. In fact, he had only given up eight all year before tonight.
Finally, David Price did his job tonight, although he never looked all that comfortable on the mound. I wouldn’t say that he pitched great, but there weren’t a lot of balls hit hard. Most of the six hits he allowed were bleeders through the infield. The Rays infield did their best to turn those little infield grounders into outs. Rodriguez especially had a great game at second. The biggest play of the night may have been the slick double play that he started in the eighth on a hard smash by Jeter.
Player of the Game: David Price