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Rays Bullpen Loss Gives Yankees A Boost

Daniel Budasoff/ Latino Sports

Bronx, NY- These are the Tampa Bay Rays and they were nine outs from a win over the reeling Yankees in the Bronx Wednesday evening. What once was a Yankees 14-game divisional lead was down to nine games, and a Rays win would get them within seven in the loss column.

But the Yankees, a team that desperately needed a win as bad as New York City needs rain, made their move and said they are turning around a five-week span of losing ball games. The Rays bullpen again was the culprit.

They sustained their eighth “Walk-Off” loss this season. On the other hand, the Yankees recorded their Major League leading 13th win in that last at bat fashion, 8-7 in 10-innings. In all probability, the Yankees will still command and eventually win their first AL East division title since 2019.

The clock struck midnight in the Bronx and Josh Donaldson hit a second pitch fastball to the right field seats that went for a walk-off grand slam home run off lefty Jalen Beeks, a pitch he would probably want back.

But returning a home run ball is not the situation here. A Rays’ bullpen cost them a ballgame and a three-game sweep over the division leaders. The Yankees furthered their cause of not relinquishing their lead as they head to the postseason in October.

But it’s ballgames like this that cause a manager to lose sleep and wonder what could have been different. This is a Tampa Bay team that still has a lineup that can compete within their division, 29-23, but a sweep over the Yankees was imminent.

“We had our hiccup today,” said Rays manager Kevin Cash. Beeks said that a struggling Donaldson got him. Again, you can’t bring that home run ball back; then again Donaldson got hold of a pitch that went deep and far to the right field stands and fans got the better look.

Regardless, Tampa Bay and the Yankees competed a series that had two teams in different directions. Tampa Bay had won four of their last five ballgames, and the Yankees, with their nine-game lead in the division had some concerns.

The Yankees had lost their last three, 11 of their last 12. Hits and scoring runs, one of the major contributors to their strong first half were hard to find, though still leading the AL in home runs, slugging and second in runs scored.

A quiet Rays’ clubhouse told the story as they left the Bronx and returned home to host the Kansas City Royals in a four-game series, realizing also this stretch run is important, and more so attempting to clinch one of three AL Wild card spots for the postseason.


Yandy Diaz (Saguala La Grande, Cuba) 2-for-6, 2 doubles, 3 RBI – recorded an RBI double in the third inning and a two-run double in the fifth.

Harold Ramirez (Cartagena, Columbia) 1-for-5, 1 Run, 1 HR – solo home run (6) in the sixth inning.

Francisco Mejia (Bani, Dominican Republic) 2-for-5, 1 Run, 3 RBI (season high) – Hit the go-ahead three-run double in the 10th inning.

Rich Mancuso is a senior writer with Twitter@Ring786 Mancuso. Watch “Sports With Rich” with Rich and Robert Rizzo Tuesday evening live 8pmET on the SLG Network and YouTube

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