An orange roof and a lit crowd. (Photo Credit: X-Rays Spex)

We — those of us who attended Friday’s night contest in Randy Land — were promised a free shirt and a prospective beer should the big fella, Randy Arozarena, hit a homer. Well, friends, we got all that and some fireworks on Friday night, when the Rays defeated the dreadful Yankees, 5-4.

Tampa Bay took an early lead in the first inning when Randy Arozarena launched a 2-1 sinker into the Ray Tank. Free beers for Randy Land!

Yandy Díaz joined in on the fun, hitting a solo homer to dead center to stretch the lead to two a couple of innings later.

But unfortunately, it would appear that the gatekeepers of baseball purity, the Yankees, took exception to, well…fun. See, Arozarena was plunked not once, but twice in the two at-bats that followed his homer. After the second hit by pitch, both benches were warned.

Kevin Cash was none too pleased by the umpire crew, given that the Rays had not hit any batters in the game. He argued the ruling with crew chief Lance Barksdale — who, by virtue of his name, couldn’t be more apt to eject players and coaches, but that’s beside the point — and was ejected from the ballgame a few minutes later.

Cash gave (cough) insight into how Barksdale and his crew came to the decision to warn both benches.

Cash and Arozarena ultimately both agreed the hit-by-pitches were unintentional, even with the history between the two clubs since 2018.

The first at-bat, hitting the home run on a breaking ball, and I think he just kind of let his sinker slip. On the second one, I also don’t think it was intentional because after the third out he actually looked over and apologized. … He gave me that look.

— Randy Arozarena

At any rate, in the second inning, José Siri drove in Isaac Paredes on a double play, then after Díaz’s third-inning blast, Harold Ramírez knocked in a run on a chopper to short. Yet, the Rays went quiet for the next three frames, and despite a grand-slam lead, they allowed the Yankees to get back into it.

In the sixth inning, Yonny Chirinos — who showed signs of being gassed — allowed a single to Anthony Rizzo and an RBI double to Gleyber Torres before DJ LeMahieu walked. His night was done.

Garrett Cleavinger took over in relief and quickly struck out Willie Calhoun on four pitches before he fell behind Harrison Bader, 2-1. Cleavinger’s next offering caught too much plate, resulting in a three-run blast and an evaporation of the lead. Nevertheless, things would bounce back in Tampa Bay’s favor with one out in the seventh.

Wander Franco sent a liner to left field, where the ball tipped off Jake Bauers’ outstretched glove. As the former Ray chased the ball around the warning track, Díaz (who reached on a fielder’s choice) hustled home from first and crossed the plate without sliding — and without a tag from New York’s backstop, Jose Trevino. While Yandy was initially ruled out, the call was overturned after the Rays challenged it.

From there, Kevin Kelly, Colin Poche — who made things a little too interesting — and Jason Adam would combine to shut the door on the Bummers for their league-leading 27th win of the season, and 18th win at home.

The New What Next

Drew Rasmussen (3-2, 3.66 ERA, 2.98 FIP) will get the start in Saturday’s matinee contest, pitching opposite Domingo German (2-2, 4.46 ERA, 4.70 ERA).

Drew Rasmussen allowed three runs on nine hits while striking out three over five innings against the White Sox on Sunday. He did not walk a batter. The White Sox got to Rasmussen in the opening frame with a pair of singles and a sacrifice fly. He faced little resistance from then on until the sixth inning, during which he allowed a leadoff base hit before Yasmani Grandal sent one over the wall in center to put the Sox ahead by a run. Rasmussen’s day concluded abruptly following the long ball. It was just the second homer he’s allowed this season, although he’s been knocked around quite a bit — allowing at least eight hits in three of his last four outings while failing to surpass five innings. The right-hander has been hit or miss in six starts this season and now owns a 3.66 ERA and a 2.98 FIP, with a 1.28 WHIP, and a 3.78 K/BB over 32 innings. Rasmussen is 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA in two outings (one start) against the Yankees.

Domingo German allowed one run on two hits and one walk over 8.1 innings against the Guardians on Monday. He struck out six. After a one-out single by Amed Rosario in the first inning, German retired 11 consecutive batters before walking Josh Bell to begin the fifth. Following the walk, the right-hander buckled down and recorded 13 straight outs before Steven Kwan singled with one out in the ninth. German, who had thrown 88 pitches (65 strikes, 74% strike rate), was pulled following the base hit. It was the first time this season German took a game into the ninth inning and the fifth time he’s recorded at least six strikeouts. His 4.46 ERA and 4.70 FIP still need work, but his 0.90 WHIP and 3.90 K/BB through 34.1 innings suggest he could be on the right track. He relies primarily on an 83 mph curveball and a 93 mph fourseam fastball, while also mixing in an 86 mph changeup, and a 93 mph sinker. Key Matchups: Randy Arozarena (3-11, HR, RBI), Christian Bethancourt (1-3, HR, 2 RBI), Yandy Díaz (5-16, 2 2B, HR, 4 RBI, 2 BB), Manuel Margot (1-4), Francisco Mejía (2-4, 2 RBI, BB), José Siri (1-1, 2B, BB)

You can read about the series in our preview, while the starting lineup and Noteworthiness are below.

Rays 5/6/23 Starting Lineup

  1. Díaz 1B
  2. Franco SS
  3. Arozarena DH
  4. B. Lowe 2B
  5. Margot CF
  6. J. Lowe RF
  7. Walls 3B
  8. Raley LF
  9. Bethancourt C


— Tyler Glasnow made his first rehab start on Friday and punched out four across 2.1 innings. Glasnow hit the upper 90s multiple times and looked great in so doing.