Tampa Bay struck early for a two-run lead in the first inning off Masahiro Tanaka. Grady Sizemore hit a leadoff double to right. Joey Butler walked, and then Evan Longoria doubled to left for a one run lead. James Loney, making his return to the lineup after suffering a fractured middle finger, hit a sacrifice-fly to cap the rally.
Chris Archer took the mound for Tampa Bay, seeking his 10th win. The Rays’ ace tossed two perfect frames to start to start the game, then worked in and out of trouble over the next four innings — ultimately holding the Yankees to 0-5 wRISP throughout. Kevin Kiermaier helped Archer in the third, ranging back on Stephen Drew’s deep fly ball to center and leaping to snare the liner, stealing a run-scoring extra-base hit. Archer was able to do something that Steve Geltz couldn’t, retire Brian McCann to end the fourth and sixth innings with a runner at second.
In the fifth, Kevin Kiermaier tripled down the right field line, and Rene Rivera followed with a sac-fly to right for a three-run lead.
In his 6-2/3 innings of work, Archer fanned seven, and allowed three hits, three walks, and an HBP on 122 pitches. He was relieved by Jake McGee, who struck out pinch-hitter Jose Pirela to end the inning.
Tampa Bay had an opportunity to extend the lead with two on and none out in the top of the eighth after Rivera and Sizemore hit back-to-back singles. However, they were unable to add to the advantage. Nick Rumbelow, on in relief of relieved Chris Capuano, got Joey Butler to pop out, Evan Longoria to fly out, and James Loney to ground out to end the threat, keeping the Rays lead at 3-0. They didn’t get another wRISP opportunity against the Yankees bullpen until the 12th.
In a move that I can’t quite wrap my head around, Kevin Cash called upon Kevin Jepsen to take over the bottom of the inning to face Chase Headley, Alex Rodriguez, and Mark Texiera. Playing the role of Monday morning quarterback, I have to wonder why Cash didn’t call upon Jepsen to face Pirela in the seventh, then McGee in the eighth? Instead, the decision to lean on the righty proved costly after Headly and Rodriguez came up with soft singles with one out, setting the stage for Teixeira, who followed with an upper-deck no doubter to tie the game. Jepsen walked the next two batters before Brandon Gomes entered and got Chris Young to ground into a 5-4-3 double play to keep the game tied.
All power to the popsicle — Tampa Bay regained the lead in the 12th, taking advantage of a leadoff walk to Logan Forsythe against Adam Warren.
Brandon Guyer then laid down a beautiful sacrifice bunt to the left of the infield, moving Forsythe to second. Asdrubal Cabrera followed by working a walk of his own. After Joe Girardi pulled Warren in flavor of Chasen Shreve, Kevin Kiermaier and Rene Rivera hit a pair of RBI singles to give the Rays a two-run advantage. Steven Souza Jr. walked to load the bases, but Joey Butler grounded into a double play to end the threat.
In the bottom of the frame, Steve Geltz, who also worked the 11th, walked Brett Gardner to begin the inning. Chase Headley struck out, but Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira followed with back-to-back singles to cut the deficit to 5-4. Brian McCann ended the game by hitting a three-run homer two pitches later.
The New What Next
Nathan Karns (4-4, 3.26 ERA) will make his 17th start of the season, opposite of Michael Pineda (8-5, 4.08 ERA). After going 1-1 with a 5.32 ERA in his first four starts, Karns is 3-3 with a 2.54 ERA in his last 12. Pineda is 2-1 in his career against the Rays with a 3.22 ERA. In his last outing, Pineda tossed his first complete game but was still tagged with the loss against the Astros. You can read about the pitching matchup in our series preview.
Rays 7/4/15 Starting Lineup
Souza Jr RF
— The Rays optioned LHP C.J. Riefenhauser to Triple-A Durham and recalled left-hander Everett Teaford from Durham on Saturday. Teaford is a more of a long man, and would be the Rays reliever if Karns gets knocked out early.
First baseman Marc Krauss was designated for assignment to make room for Teaford on the 40-man roster.
Teaford appeared in one game for the Rays earlier this season, giving up a run on four hits over 2-1/3 innings. Riefenhauser is 1-0 with a 9.95 ERA in six games with the Rays this season.
Krauss was acquired in a June 25 trade that sent Minor Leaguer Kyle Winkler to the Angels. He had one hit in 10 at-bats while playing in four games for the Rays.
— The Rays are 4-and-3 on the Fourth of July since 2008. However, they lost to the Yankees by a score of 4-3 the last time they faced them on Independence Day (2012).