The Rays began their string of 37 games in 38 days by flexing their muscles delivering four home runs to back the powerful right arm of Chris Archer and defeating the New York Yankees by a final score of 7-2. Archer picked up the victory to move to 7-5 with a 2.93 ERA on the year and the Rays record improves to 73-53.
The game had an ominous feel to it from the very beginning. The New York Yankees were coming to town red hot winning 10 of their last 12 games which catapulted them to within 3.5 games of the Oakland Athletics in the wild card chase.
On the other hand the Rays were coming off an off day and on the year the Rays have a record of 1-10 after an off day including 8 losses in a row.
Hiroki Kuroda had been pitching well and coming into the game had lost just two of his last eight starts posting a 4-2 record with a 1.34 ERA. He had only allowed more than two earned runs in a start three times over his last 12 starts.
He had also not allowed a home run over his last 56.2 innings of work which according to Elias was the longest stretch of his career. Kuroda took the loss to fall to 11-9 with a 2.71 ERA on the year and the Yankees record drops to 68-60.
In July Chris Archer went 4-0 with a 0.73 ERA winning him the Pitcher of the Month and Rookie of the Month Awards but he has not had as much success in August going 0-2 with a 4.79 ERA in 4 starts. The good news was his last start against the Toronto Blue Jays on Sunday was extremely encouraging going 7 innings and only allowing 1 earned run.
Archer nearly matched his performance on Friday night going 7 innings allowing 2R/ER on 4 hits striking out 4 and walking 2. He threw 109 pitches and 69 for strikes. He allowed a first inning walk to Brett Gardner to come around and score in the first inning and Gardner came in to score on a fielders choice after hitting a leadoff triple in the 6th inning.
Alex Rodriguez came to the plate in the bottom of the first inning and was met with a resounding boo from most of the 24,239 fans in attendance. There was a small contingent of Yankees fans who were hesitantly cheering – not so much for Rodriguez but mostly out of a Pavlov’s dog type response to what they are supposed to do when a Yankee is getting booed.
The Rays worked Hiroki Kuroda (11-9, 2.71 ERA) over iin his 6 innings of work. They tuned him him up for 7R/ER on 9 hits including 4 home runs in just 6 innings of work.
The Rays took the lead on a Jose Lobaton 3-run homer in the 2nd inning. It was Lobaton’s 6th home run on the year and his second home run in as many plate appearances at Tropicana Field. He hit a walk off homer to give the Rays a 2-1 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays.
The extended their lead to 5-1 in the bottom of the 3rd on back to back home runs by Evan Longoria and Matt Joyce. It was Longoria’s 26th homer of the season and it was Joyce’s 17th. It was the 7th time the Rays hit back to back homers this season with the last time occurring on July 21st against the Blue Jays R.A. Dickey (Luke Scott and Kelly Johnson).
Newly acquired David DeJesus delivered a 1-out double in the 4th inning and came home to score on a RBI single by Jose Lobaton giving him 4 RBI on the day. His 4 RBI ties a career high last achieved on July 25, 2012 in Baltimore against the Orioles.
The Rays added another run in the bottom of the 5th inning on a solo home run by Ben Zobrist, It was the Rays 4th homer of the game and Zobrist’s 10th on the season. It marked the 7th time the Rays hit 4 home runs in a game against the New York Yankees and the first time since August 12, 2011 in New York.
Jamey Wright came in to work the 8th inning and allowed a lead off single to Brett Gardner but quickly erased him on a pickoff play. It was Wright’s 59th career pickoffs. Among active pitchers he ranks 3rd in the major leagues behind the Yankees Andy Pettite (98) and the Blue Jays Mark Buehrle (92).
Roberto Hernandez came in to work a scoreless 9th inning. It was his first relief appearance in exactly 7 years. The last coming August 23, 2006 against the Kansas City Royals.
The Rays will take on the Yankees tomorrow evening at 7:10 p.m. in a battle of southpaws. The Rays will send David Price (7-5, 3.29 ERA) to the mound against C.C. Sabathia (11-10, 4.83 ERA).