NEW YORK – Outfielder Mallex Smith had three hits including a two run home run & rookie Brandon Lowe recorded his first two major league hits as the Tampa Bay Rays ended a two game losing streak & beat the New York Yankees 6-1 on Wednesday Night. The Rays outfielders combined for seven hits & drove in five of the six runs.
With New York placing lefty CC Sabathia on the disabled list with right knee inflammation, righty Luis Cessa, who was called up from Triple- A, got the start. Cessa, with just two outings of over five innings this season, was unable to pitch past the fourth inning against the Rays, who entered the game with just 3 wins in their last 17 games played at Yankee Stadium.
The Rays looked like they were going to get to Cessa early after a one out walk to third baseman Matt Duffy but both first baseman Jake Bauers & second baseman Joey Wendle hit fly balls that reached the outfield wall but were caught.
Cessa threw 15 pitches in the scoreless first inning but after getting designated hitter Ji Man-Choi to groundout to start the second, the Yankees starter allowed a double to left to centerfielder Kevin Kiermaier. And after shortstop Willy Adames struck out, Lowe, who entered the game hitless in his first 19 career at bats, looped a single to shallow left for his first major league hit & run batted in.
The two out single by Lowe gave the Rays a 1-0 lead & started Tampa Bay’s string of four straight innings in which they scored at least one run. But the lead lasted only until Yankees rookie third baseman Miguel Andujar led the bottom of the second inning off with a solo home run off Rays starter Jake Faria.
Faria, who after the game was optioned to Durham to make room for outfielder Tommy Pham, allowed a baserunner in each of the first four innings, struggled in the bottom of the fourth by walking two batters & threw 66 pitches in just over three innings.
In the third inning, the Rays loaded the bases with none out on a single by both Smith & Duffy followed by a walk to Bauers. Cessa was able to struck out Wendle but Choi hit a groundball to Yankees shortstop Didi Gregorius, who made a diving stop & got an out at second base but second baseman’s Ronald Torreyes’ throw to first was not in time to get Choi, which allowed Smith to score to give the Rays the lead again. And with two outs, Kiermaier, who entered the game with four hits all month, made the score 3-1 with his second hit of the night, a two out single that scored Duffy.
The lead jumped to 5-1 in the fourth when with one out, catcher Michael Perez singled & scored when Smith hit his second home run of the season, a two run shot to rightfield that landed in the second deck. And the string of runs in four straight innings was capped off when Lowe added his second major league hit of his career, another two out single, this one driving in Choi.
After Faria, the Rays used three pitchers to limit the Yankees to five baserunners after the fourth inning. With the Yankees threatening in the fourth, righty reliever Chaz Roe got Yankees catcher Austin Romine looking at a called strike three then on a play that was overturned by replay, Duffy fielded a slow grounder & threw out Torreyes at first to end the inning. Initially Torreyes was called safe, scoring Gregorius but the Rays challenged & the umpires reversed the call.
Rays rookie lefty Ryan Yarbrough, who picked up his 11th win, pitched four innings, allowing two hits & striking out three batters.
The Rays will go for their second straight win overall & first series win in New York in thirteen tries when the two teams play Thursday afternoon. Rays lefty Blake Snell (13-5 2.18) gets the start while the Yankees counter with righty Masahiro Tanaka (9-3 4.08). Coverage begins on 620 WDAE at noon with Steve Carney & The Inside Pitch followed by first pitch at 1:10pm.