The Tampa Bay Rays used a familiar combination of pitching and defense to defeat the New York Yankees by a final score of 4-2 to guarantee a series win against the New York Yankees. David Price picked up the win improving his record to 8-5 and lowered his ERA to 3.28 and Fernando Rodney picked up his 30th save on the year. CC Sabathia took the loss to fall to 11-11 with a 4.81 ERA.
The Yankees fall to 68-61 and lose a game in the AL East standings to both Tampa and Boston and trail in the division by 7 games. They also lose a game in the wild card chase as the Oakland Athletics defeated the Baltimore Orioles 2-1 and they now trail the wild card by 4.5 games.
Entering the game David Price and CC Sabathia had met eight previous times with the Rays winning seven of the contests and Price posting a 5-1 record and a 2.35 ERA.
Sabathia, since joining the Yankees, has struggled against the Rays posting a record of 4-11 with an ERA of 4.47 in 22 starts. He doesn’t like to pitch in Tropicana Field posting a lifetime record of 3-7 with a 4.39 ERA. He last pitched at Tropicana Field on May 26th and took the loss in a Rays 8-3 victory in which he allowed 7R/ER on 8 hits including 2 home runs in 7 innings of work.
Sabathia had been struggling winning just 2 of his last eight starts going 2-4 with a 6.85 ERA and hadn’t gone 5 innings in five out of those starts. He has been hurt by the long ball this season allowing 27 homers thus far including 15 on the road and 12 at Yankee Stadium.
As usual Price was tough on the mound but Sabathia was uncharacteristically good for the Yankees but in the end it was David Price and the Rays who were once again victorious over Sabathia and the Yankees.
After defeating Price was asked about how it feels to beat Sabathia to which he replied “I want to beat anybody, I don’t care who it is, I don’t care if they want to start a position player or anybody on the mound, I want to win.”
Price was in command through the early innings but ran into trouble in the top of the 5th as the Yankees jumped out to a 2-0 lead. Alex Rodriguez led off the inning and registered his first hit of the series and advanced to second on a Vernon Wells single. After Curtis Granderson struck out Mark Reynolds hit a rare opposite field single to load the bases for Austin Romine. After fouling off several pitches and taking several close pitches Romine eventually drew a walk to bring home Alex Rodriguez with the Yankees first run.
They would add another on a high chopper to Ben Zobrist who could not tag out Romine heading to second and had to throw over to first to get the speedy Suzuki. James Loney‘s return throw to 2nd base wasn’t in time to retire Romine and Vernon Wells crossed home plate to push the lead to 2-0.
“This could be one of the games I look back on at the end of the year and say I kept my cool and got the next two guys out.” Price said of about keeping his cool. “The next guy hits a ground ball and they score a run that puts us down 2-0 and it’s o.k. I don’t want the next guy to come up and I’m still mad and I walk him and the next guy hits a double and it’s four or five nothing.”
For the first 5 innings Sabathia looked like the CC Sabathia who posted a 7-1 record with an ERA of 2.44 against the Rays as a member of the Cleveland Indians but in the top of the 6th the Sabathia that has struggle most of the last two months suddenly appeared.
Sam Fuld led off the inning with a single and moved to second on a Desmond Jennings walk. Sabathia fell behind Zobrist 2-0 which brought a visit by the Yankees pitching coach. After taking a strike Zobrist lined a pitch into the gap in left center and both Fuld and Jennings raced around to tie the game at 2-2. Evan Longoria followed with a single to score Zobrist and the Rays had a 3-2 lead.
With a 3-2 lead in place and Price having thrown 101 pitches he was replaced by Jake McGee. On the night Price worked 6 innings allowing 2R/ER on 5 hits striking out 5 and walking 1.
With 1-out in the 7th Curtis Granderson laced a double into the right field corner to bring Mark Reynolds to the plate representing the go ahead run. McGee threw nothing but fastballs to Reynolds striking him out for the 2nd out. Austin Romine flew out to left to end the inning.
Sabathia came out to work the 7th inning and retired Jose Molina on a ground out to short but Sam Fuld got his second single in as many innings and with the top of the order due up and with Sabathia at 112 pitches he was taken out for right hander Preston Claiborne. Sabathia’s final line was 6.1 innings allowing 3R/ER on 6 hits striking out 7 and walking 2.
Fuld stole second and moved to third after Robinson Cano allowed the throw to scoot by into center field. With an all important insurance run now at 3rd base with less than 2-outs the Yankees brought their infield in. Unfortunately the run was stranded at 3rd base as Desmond Jennings popped out to shallow center field and Ben Zobrist struck out.
Jake McGee worked a scoreless 7th inning and was replaced by Joel Peralta to face the top of the Yankees order which included lefties Ichirio Suzuki and Robinson Cano.
Suzuki flied out to shallow left for the first out as the Rays defense had him played perfectly. Eduardo Nunez sent a single that appeared to be heading to center field before Ben Zobrist tracked it down and threw a bullet to just get Nunez at first. Robinson Cano was caught looking to end the inning.
Evan Longoria picked up Jennings and Zobrist by lining a homer to straight away center field to lead off the bottom of the 8th and give Fernando Rodney a 2-run cushion to work with.
Alfonso Soriano led off the inning with a broken bat flare to Ben Zobrist playing on the left side of second base. Alex Rodriguez grounded weekly to Zobrist to the left of 2nd base. Brett Gardner pinch hit for Vernon Wells and flew out to shallow center field to end the game as Fernando Rodney picked up his 30th save on the season.