New York quickly got onto the board two outs into the first when Alex Rodriguez took a fastball on the outer third of the plate into the right-field stands for a one run lead. For Rodriguez it was his 32nd of the year, and eighth against Tampa Bay.
However, Tampa Bay answered against Adam Warren in the bottom of the inning. John Jaso lead off with a hard hit single into left, then Grady Sizemore followed in kind by blooping an opposite field hit in front of Brett Gardner. Jaso aggressively tried to go first to third, but was barely thrown out by Gardner as he slid into the bag head first. A review on the play would not be over turned. With Sizemore on first and one out, both Evan Longoria and Logan Forsythe singled, plating a run. After four straight hits, Asdrubal Cabrera ― who later left the game with a strained right knee ― grounded into a 3-6-1 double play, ending the frame.
Then in the second inning, the hot hitting Mikie Mahtook single handily gave the Rays a one run lead. First he pulled an inside curveball down the third base line, just off the glove of Chase Headley, for a hustle double. Then he got a good jump off Adam Warren and swiped third. Not expecting Mahtook to run, Brian McCann rushed a throw to Headley that (unfortunately for the Yankees) was in the dirt. Headley couldn’t handle the scoop, and Mahtook easily came home on the gaffe.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, the lead was short-lived. Rodriguez walked on six pitches to start the fourth, but Odorizzi got the next two outs. Greg Bird, who homered of Jake in New York, made him pay for an errant fastball after a ten pitch battle. As BA pointed out in the broadcast, Odorizzi threw more than a few high fastballs that Bird fouled off. He came back with a pitch that leaked over the plate. Perhaps a split-change might have changed the outcome of the at-bat.
Nick Franklin entered the game in the fifth, after Asdrubal Cabrera departed with a left knee strain, and promptly geeked a grounder that was hit right to him. To say Franklin had something to prove would be an understatement. That chance came in the bottom of the next inning.
After Logan Forsythe singled to left against Nick Rumbelow, Franklin belted a 1-1 change to right for his second homer of the season, giving the Rays a lead they’d never relinquish.
— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) September 16, 2015
Enny Romero worked around a leadoff walk, putting up a scoreless seventh with Kevin Kiermaier making a terrific running catch to end the frame.
In the eighth, Alex Colome, working for a third consecutive day for the first time, got the first two batters of the frame on well struck balls to right. Steven Souza Jr. made an excellent sliding catch on the second of those hits for the second out of the inning. But Carlos Beltran extended the inning with a single to center, and was pinch-run for by Rico Noel. And though Noel was in motion, Bird flew out to Mahtook in left to end the frame.
Tampa Bay was able to tack on a pair of insurance runs off Bryan Mitchell in the bottom of the inning. James Loney and Mahtook went back-to-back with base hits to left, however, The Outlaw grounded into a 3-6 fielder’s choice that thankfully moved Loney to third. With runners on the corners and two-outs, J.P. Arencibia looped a ball to right-center that popped out of Noel’s glove for a two-run single.
In an, ahem…creative decision by Kevin Cash, Brandon Gomes entered the game as the de facto closer the ninth. The split throwing Gomes quickly got the first two outs before pinch hitter Dustin Ackley hit a single to right. Jacoby Ellsbury then reached on a bad hopped error to first that absolutely ate up Loney. Nevertheless, the righty got Brett Gardner to fly out to left to end the game. Gomes earned his first save in the majors, and became the eighth different Rays pitcher to earn a save this season.
The New What Next
Chris Archer (12-11, 2.95 ERA) will get the start in the series finale on Thursday, opposite of rookie RHP Luis Severino (3-3, 3.35 ERA). Archer received a no-decision in his last start on Friday after allowing three runs on five hits against the Red Sox. Severino was blown up by the Blue Jays on Friday after allowing six runs ― including two homers ― in just 2-1/3 innings of work. You can read about the pitching matchup in our series preview.
Rays 9/16/15 Starting Lineup
― Asdrubal Cabrera said he “felt a pop” in his left knee during the fourth inning at-bat that resulted in his exit from the game. Cabrera was concerned it was bad, although the MRI on his left knee didn’t show anything worse; it is still considered a strain. The middle infielder expects to play again this season.
― Per Marc Topkin (Tampa Bay Times), Curt Casali (hamstring) and OF Desmond Jennings (knee) continue to progress, however, there are no set dates for their returns. LHP Xavier Cedeno, out since Sept. 5 with tightness in his left side, felt good after another bullpen session and hopes to throw to hitters Thursday and return soon thereafter.
― The Tampa Bay Rays announced that they are going to re-sign 1B Carlos Pena …. and then he is going to retire as a Ray. Pena will sign his contract with the team on Friday at Tropicana Field. The 37 year-old Dominican born player has not played with any organization this year.
A key part of the Rays transformation, Pena hit a team-record 46 homers in 2007 after inking a minor-league deal and making the team at the end of spring training. He is the only player to lead the Rays in homers in four different seasons and holds team records for most:
- RBI in a season 121
- Walks 103
- SLG .627
- OBP .411
Pena won the Rays first Silver Slugger Award in 2007, first Gold Glove in 2008, was a 2009 All-Star.