Rays Win Over Yanks Keeps Them In The Race • Latino Sports

Baseball

Rays Win Over Yanks Keeps Them In The Race

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Flushing, NY – Another home game for the Tampa Bay Rays at Citi Field Tuesday night and for the New York Yankees a tough loss as the important games in September become more crucial. The Yankees with a 2-1 loss dropped another game behind to the Red Sox and the Rays got a win they needed to keep their Al wild card hopes alive.

The atmosphere at the Mets home park was all Yankees fans among the 21,024 in this contingency series away from home tor the Rays. And with the Rays concerned more about conditions down south a win like this made things easier as they plan to leave town and head back to Tampa Bay after the finale of this three-game series Wednesday afternoon.

“Day two was no different,” said Rays’ manager Kevin Cash. But it was different in respect to an outcome that his team needed and that was an important win in New York whether it be across town at Yankee Stadium or in Flushing Queens.

The outcome came down to the bullpen, and Cash had it all set up. After Blake Snell worked 5.0 innings and allowed one run on two hits it was the pen that assured that Tampa Bay would survive another game in New York. And that one run difference came with the one pitch Yankees starter and loser Sonny Gray delivered to Adeiny Hechavarria.

Of course it was the home run ball from Hechavarria, a fastball that went into the left field seats in the eighth inning that kept the Rays in the hunt.  With the Cleveland Indians winning a record tying 20th straight game that also helped the Rays in their quest for one of two wild card spots in the American League.

“Indians give us hope to get in,” said Cash. “There’s been talk six weeks to figure out winning five, six in a row. Tonight is a start.”

The Yankees can live another day but every win is important as they try and overtake the Red Sox in their quest for an AL East title. This one does sting because Gray was sharp and tossed his sixth career complete game and first loss when going the distance with nine strikeouts.

But the home run ball hurt Gray as both Tampa Bay runs were solo shots.  Kevin Kiermaier hit his second career leadoff home run in the bottom of the first inning, 12th of the season, and at that time tied the game at 1-1. Then it was Gray doing his job and the Rays bullpen keeping them in the game.

As Cash said, “The bullpen did the job. It lined up pretty well tonight.” That was due to Steve Cishek, Dan Jennings, and Tommy Hunter working scoreless ball before Alex Colome took over in the ninth and recorded his 44th save.

The other equation out of the Ray’s pen, Sergio Romo was also ready to go if the call came. Romo threw scoreless ball the night before and is available Wednesday afternoon for the finale.

“For us to get going, he’s going to be a big part of that,” Cash said about Romo.

Cishek has not allowed a run in 20 of his 21 appearances since his acquisition to the Rays. He lowered his ERA to 1.37, three earned runs 19.2 innings. The key inning for the Yankees was the sixth but Cishek struck out Aaron Judge looking, got Gary Sanchez on a pop out to first, and Matt Holliday got caught looking on strikes.

“Saw that Judge and Sanchez were coming and got ready for this,” said Cishek. “Every situation you go in is a big one. Like a playoff atmosphere tonight. Really brings on the adrenaline.” And attribute that to the Yankees fans that were able to fill the lower bowl at Citi Field with tickets selling at $25.00 dollars apiece.

More importantly these are three important games for Tampa Bay, as they also are for the Yankees.  Contingency planning here has worked, and overall the Rays have been thankful as to how the Mets gave up their locker room to them. After all the wins now are very important.

But to get a win at Citi Field and with Yankees fans cheering as if they were the home team, that made this win even more sweet under the circumstances for the Rays and their playoff chances.

About Rich Mancuso

Established sports journalist and educator. Contact Rich at [email protected]

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