Roberto Hernandez Torched Again, Yankees Defeat Rays 9-4
Roberto Hernandez had his second consecutive poor outing and the offense seemed stuck in a post-road trip slumber while David Phelps effectively maneuvered his way through the Rays lineup en route to a 9-4 Yankees victory. The victory drops the Rays to just 1 game over .500 at 24-23 and the Yankees improve to 29-18. The victory came with a price to the Yankees as Curtis Granderson was hit on the hand by a Cesar Ramos pitch resulting in a broken knuckle and he is expected to miss at least 4 weeks.
Roberto Hernandez (2-5, 5.73 ERA) wasn't sharp and labored through just 4 innings allowing 5R/ER on 6 hits striking out 3, walking 3, and surrendering a home run. He was replaced by Cesar Ramos who didn't fare much better allowing 3R/ER on 3 hits striking out 1, walking 1, and hitting a batter. Jamey Wright came in and worked 3 innings allowing 1R/ER on 1 hit striking out 2 and walking 1 and Kyle Farnsworth worked a 1-2-3 9th inning.
While the Yankees were building a commanding lead against Hernandez and Ramos Yankees starter David Phelps (3-2, 3.96 ERA) was busy mowing down the Rays offense. He retired the first 13 in a row until James Loney doubled with 1-out in the 5th inning. He was cruising into the 8th inning when Ben Zobrist hit a line drive back up the middle that caught him in the right arm knocking him out of the game. His final line was 8.2 innings allowing 4R/ER on 6 hits striking out 3 and walking 0. He was replace by Boone Logan who struck out Luke Scott to end the inning. Shawn Kelley came in to work the ninth inning and retired the Rays in order.
The Yankees were the beneficiary of an early blown call on a bang bang play at first as they jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the 2nd inning. With Travis Hafner at 2b and 1-out David Adams sent a grounder that Yunel Escobar's ranged far to his right and made a strong throw that appeared to beat Adams by half a step but he was was called safe. The added base runner immediately turned into a run for the Yankees as Lyle Overbay doubled to score both Hafner and Adams to give the Yankees an early 2-0 lead. Overbay came in to score on a Jayson Nix single giving the Yankees a 3-0 lead. Chris Steward flew out for the second out and after Nix stole second base and Brett Garder had walked Joe Maddon elected to intentionally walk Robinson Cano to load the bases to bring Vernon Wells to the plate. The move paid off as Wells was retired on an infield pop out.
The Yankees extended their lead to 5-0 in the top of the 4th. After Hernandez had retired the first two batters Chris Stewart singled and Brett Gardner followed with a 2-run homer to put the Yankees ahead 5-0.
The Yankees added 3 runs in the top of the 5th inning against Cesar Ramos to extend their lead to 8-0. With 1-out Curtis Granderson was hit by a pitch and then back to back singles by David Adams and Lyle Overbay loaded the bases. Jayson Nix drew a walk to bring in 1-run, Chris Stewart followed with a single to bring in another, and Robinson Cano was hit by a pitch to score yet another.
The Rays finally got to David Phelps in the bottom of the 6th scoring 3 times to cut the Yankees lead to 8-3. Jose Lobaton led off with a single, reached to second on a single by Yunel Escobar, and came around to score on a Matt Joyce double that also advanced Escobar to 3rd. Escobar came in to score on a ground ball to short by Ben Zobrist which also allowed Joyce to scoot into 3rd and score on a Luke Scott sacrifice fly.
Jamey Wright was unable to have a shut down inning the Rays needed as the Yankees added a single run on a triple by Jayson Nix and a wild pitch to push the Yankees lead to 9-3.
The Rays will look to take the middle game on Saturday afternoon at 4:1o as they send Matt Moore (8-0, 2.29 ERA) in search of his 9th win without a defeat up against Vidal Nuno (1-1, 1.13 ERA) making his 2nd career major league start.