Sep 24, 2013; Bronx, NY, USA; Tampa Bay Rays right fielderMatt Joyce
(20) hits a home run in the first inning of MLB game against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports
Tonight’s game featured two teams going in opposite directions – The Rays looked like a team on the rise and the Yankees looked like a team playing out the string. The Yankees left 11 men on base and had some trouble chasing down Rays hits, although they were only charged with two errors. The Yankees’ starting outfield of Soriano, Suzuki, and Wells averaged over 36 years in age. Their 37 year-old third baseman, Alex Rodriguez, came in hitting .253 and went 0 for 4. The Rays got ahead in the first inning and never looked back.
In the top of the first, Matt Joyce, batting leadoff despite a September average of .081, drove Kuroda’s third pitch into the right field stands for a quick 1-0 lead. Wil Myers followed with a single to center. David DeJesus, batting third, ripped a double down the right field line. Myers, running hard all the way, scored and DeJesus took third on Wells’ wild throw. He came in on Longoria’s sac fly to give the Rays a 3-0 lead. Kuroda settled down and struck out the next two batters, Zobrist and Loney. Kuroda wouldn’t allow another run until the sixth.
Matt Moore pitched himself in and out of trouble for the first five innings. He threw 107 pitches, walked 6 and threw three wild pitches, including one that allowed Wells to take first after a strikeout. He was still able to get outs when he needed them. In the bottom of the third the Yankees loaded the bases with one out, but Moore got Reynolds to hit a soft fly to right and Nunez to ground into a fielder’s choice to end the inning. Jamey Wright came in to pitch a scoreless sixth inning, and Jake Odorozzi earned his first major league save with three shutout innings to close the game. Moore did allow his baserunners, but Rays pitchers held the Yankees to just an 0 for 10 mark with runners in scoring position to ensure the game never became close.
The Rays struck again in the top of the sixth. Kuroda walked Wil Myers to begin the inning, and two batters later, Evan Longoria hit a soft fly ball down the left field line that Soriano was too slow to get to. It bounced fair and went into the stands for a ground rule double. Kuroda then walked Zobrist intentionally to set up a force at any base with one out. Manager Joe Girardi left Kuroda in to face the left handed Loney despite having southpaw Boone Logan ready in the bullpen, probably because Loney was 0 for 11 against Kuroda lifetime. However, Loney made them pay by lining a double into right center for two runs. Maddon removed Lobaton from the game due to a bruised elbow caused by diving for so many Matt Moore pitches, and sent in Jose Molina, who struck out. Then Logan came in and struck out the left handed Fuld to end the inning.
In the top of the ninth. Yankee pitcher Shawn Kelley walked Sam Fuld, who scored on a double by Delmon Young, who had replaced Joyce at DH. Then DeJesus ripped his second double down the right field line to make the score 7-0, and that score proved to be the final as the Rays secured their fifth win in a row. One concern for the Rays is shortstop Yunel Escobar had to leave the game after Chris Stewart slid into his ankle by Chris Stewart trying to break up a double play. Escobar’s injury was diagnosed as a bruise and he is day-to-day. But on the positive side, Evan Longoria went two for four and hit the ball hard every time up and Rays fans hope this means he’s emerging from his long slump. With this win, the Rays stay one game ahead of Cleveland in the wild card race and eliminated any chance that the Yankees might catch them.