Rays come out swinging, lose 9-5 to Yankees

The Yankees hammered Price in the bottom of the fifth, scoring four in the frame that decided the game. After Brett Gardner walked and stole second, he scored on Derek Jeter’s single; Jeter moved to second on a wild pitch by Price. Nick Swisher flied to left to advance the runner and Mark Texeira flied to right, letting Rays fans breathe a little easier until Alex Rodriguez’s two-out single scored Jeter; Robinson Cano walked and Jorge Posada doubled, scoring Rodriguez and Cano before Marcus Thames flied out to left field to end the onslaught. It would be Price’s final pitch of the day.

A smattering of offense from either side kept this long day going but other than the Kapler homer and Joyce double, there were no more bright spots left in the day. Randy Choate recorded a single out in the sixth before Andy Sonnanstine came in to pitch the rest of the game.

Any loss is disappointing, but this one stings a bit more for several reasons. For starters, it looked like a great game based on the first-inning firepower. Any game where you put up a three-spot in the opening inning you need to come out with the W. Also, the Yankees gain a game on the Rays in the American League East. Fortunately the Texas Rangers beat the Bahstan Rehd Sahks 4-2, letting Tampa Bay keep their three-and-a-half game cushion in the wild card picture.

Is it ever really easy?

[image-1]The next six games are against the teams with the two worst records in the American League, but the Rays need to approach the next week with more intensity than they showed Sunday. Keep in mind the Cleveland Indians smacked Tampa Bay on the mouth 9-3 headed in to the all-star break and the Baltimore Orioles recently swept the AL West-leading Rangers. Recent history (read: Rehd Sahks, Bahstan) suggests that a wounded animal needs to be mercilessly destroyed, lest their bites yield crippling infections. Yeah, that metaphor was dumb and poorly executed so I’ll be more to the point: take no team lightly, despite poor records or poor health. The Bay-area Boys need to break the brooms back out and beat Baltimore and them Injuns over the head with 'em. Bring on the fury and bring on the sweeps! (I’m going on too much caffeine and too little sleep).

The day began with a three-run blast by Carlos Pena. Most times that means it going to be a great ball game for the Tampa Bay Rays and their fans, except that was one of the last few things to go their way. They left 12 runners on base, including a bases-loaded, one-out situation in the third inning. Gabe Kapler hit a solo shot in the seventh and Matt Joyce doubled Pena home in the top off the ninth; it just wasn’t enough to overcome the New York Yankees, who steamrolled starter David Price for seven runs through five innings and went on to win 9-5.

The Rays started stranding men as early as the first inning; after Pena’s long ball, Ben Zobrist and Jason Bartlett both singled. Gabe Kapler lined out to third and Kelly Shoppach grounded to the shortstop to leave ‘em hanging. Zobrist struck out to lead off the third before Bartlett and Kapler both singled. Yankees starter Andy Pettitte left the game with a groin injury and reliever David Robertson walked Shoppach to load the bases. Sean Rodriguez popped out to short and Upton flied to right to end that important scoring chance. Crawford singled and stole second in the fourth inning; he was sacrificed to third on Evan Longoria’s fly ball to center but Pena struck out and Zobrist grounded to second to leave yet another Rays runner stranded.

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