Labor Day opened up probably the biggest series of the year for the Rays as they took on the New York Yankees just 3.5 games back in the AL east. C.C Sabathia has struggled pitching against the Rays since he became a Yankee and the Yankees had struggled against the Rays as a team losing 9 of their last 10 at Tropicana Field. With James Shields having the lowest ERA on the Rays staff since July 31st, all signs pointed towards a good day for the Rays.

The Rays started off the scoring in the second with an RBI single by Chris Gimenez that scored Jeff Keppinger.

In the third, B.J. Upton led off the inning with a solo home run to give the Rays a 2-0 lead.

Shields got in trouble in the top of the fourth. First, Eric Chavez hit a sacrifice fly to left field that scored Robinson Cano making it a 2-1 game. Then, Raul Ibanez tripled in Alex Rodriguez to tie the game at 2.

The next batter, Russell Martin, hit the ball right back at Shields and it deflected off his leg and rolled to Jeff Keppinger. Keppinger gave a look to Ibanez but quickly hustled over to first base to try to get Martin out. Martin beat him to the bag, and Ibanez scored giving the Yankees a 3-2 lead.

The Rays came back with some slick base running in the fifth. After a double steal, Evan Longoria grounded out to short stop to score B.J. Upton and tie the game 3-3.

Joe Maddon was ejected in the bottom of the eighth when arguing that Rich Thompson had successfully stolen second base. Two batters later, Ryan Roberts singled, which would have been the go ahead run.

Maddon must have fired the troops up because Ryan Roberts stole second base and Chris Gimenez knocked him in with an RBI single to right field to score Roberts and give the Rays the 4-3 lead.

Fernando Rodney closed it out in the ninth with a runner on third for his 41st save of the season. The Rays are now 74-61 (3-0 in September) and two and a half games out of the AL east.

notable stat lines

  • James Shields W(13-8) 8 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 BB, 5 K
  • C.C Sabathia 7 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 4 K
  • B.J. Upton (1-3) 2 R, BB, HR, RBI
  • Evan Longoria (1-4) RBI
  • Chris Gimenez (2-3) BB, 2 RBI

click here for a full box score

Rays news and notes

  • Tomorrow this momentous series continues at Tropicana Field. It will be Freddy Garcia(7-5, 4.90 ERA) vs. Alex Cobb(8-8, 4.39 ERA). First pitch is at 7:10 EST.
  • Evan Longoria left the game in the seventh inning with what is being called an undisclosed injury.