The Rays got it back together Thursday night, beating the Yankees 7-3 in the series finale after two straight sloppy performances. Following a brief rain delay, David Price took the mound to square off against C.C. Sabathia, who would get very little help from his defense in this game but was still be outpitched by Price.
The game's first run was scored in the top of the second inning, when Jose Lobaton—who has had a positive impact on the lineup since his return—blooped an RBI double into right field.
The Yankees would respond in the bottom half of the inning, however, with an RBI groundout from catcher Chris Stewart.
In the top of the third, the Rays came back with two more runs to regain a 3-1 lead. The Rays took advantage of an A-Rod error to add a pair of runs via an RBI single from Ben Zobrist and a sac fly from B.J. Upton.
The bats continued to hit Sabathia hard in the fourth, as a long Drew Sutton double down the left-field line plated two more runs to give the Rays a 5-1 lead.
Meanwhile, Price had great stuff in his five strong innings of work. He struck out eight batters while allowing just one run, but his four walks stopped him from going deep into this ballgame.
Down 5-1 in the bottom of the eighth, the Yanks inched a little closer with an RBI single off the bat of Raul Ibanez. Joel Peralta inherited the run, which was earned by Jake McGee.
The Rays would respond, though, getting two big insurance runs in the ninth. Sutton hit his second RBI double of the game, and then Elliot Johnson followed with one of his own.
The Rays improve to 32-25 (13-14 on the road) on the season, and retake their first-place tie with Baltimore—who lost to Boston 7-0. The Yankees are now just a half-game out of first, and the Red Sox remain in last just three games out.
Notable stat lines:
- D. Price (W,8-3): ER, 3 H, 8 K, 4 BB through 5.0 IP (109 pitches, 63 strikes). ERA now 2.40.
- E. Johnson: 1-5, RBI, R, E6
- B. Zobrist: 1-4, RBI, R, BB
- B.J. Upton: 2-4, RBI, R
- J. Lobaton: 2-3, RBI, R, BB
- M. Joyce: 1-3, 2 R, BB
- D. Sutton: 2-4, 2 RBI, R
- W. Davis: Perfect through 2.0 IP, 4 K.
Rays news and notes:
- Kyle Farnsworth (elbow strain) through live pitching at the Trop Wednesday, and everything went smoothly. He's about three weeks away from serious baseball activities (rehab assignment).
- The Rays are dressing up to an 'All-White' theme for the weekend road trip in Miami, where the Rays will have the first look at the Marlins' new stadium and team.
- Ben Zobrist and hitting coach Derek Shelton did some work before the game Thursday, in efforts to get him out of his slump.
- RHP Shane Dyer, IF/OF Omar Luna, and DH Kyeong Kang will represent Double-A Montgomery in the Southern League South Division All-Star Game.
- Eight players from Single-A Bowling Green— Ryan Brett, Jake Floethe, Jeff Malm, Tyler Goeddel, Jake Partridge, Matt Rice, Felipe Rivero and Josh Sale—made the Midwest League All-Star team.
- Jeremy Hellickson (4-2, 2.69 ERA) will square off against Ricky Nolasco (6-3, 4.35 ERA) to kick off a three-game series against the Marlins (also own a 31-25 record) in Miami Friday night. First pitch at 7:10.