When you are built to win games the way the Tampa Bay Rays are, with pitching and defense, sometimes they will betray you. Sunday happened to be one of those days.
Charlie Morton and Tampa Bay's bullpen struggled all afternoon Sunday, with the Yankees using a seven-tun sixth inning to break a 5-5 tie and defeat the Rays going away 13-5 at Yankee Stadium.
Morton struggled to get through four innings, allowing a RBI single to Kendrys Morales to give New York their first lead. Tampa Bay would come back with back-to-back two-out solo home runs by Kevin Kiermaier and Willy Adames, both off Chad Green, to take the lead in the second, but a two-run homer by Brett Gardner in the bottom of the inning once again put New York ahead 3-2.
Brandon Lowe gave the Rays a second lead in the third inning, blasting a three-run homer over the home bullpen off Nestor Cortes Jr. that gave Tampa Bay a 5-3 lead.
But after putting up a scoreless bottom of the third, Morton could not do the same in the fourth, as Yandy Diaz misplayed a DJ LeMahieu grounder for an error instead of the third out of the inning, and Aaron Hicks followed with a two-run blast that tied the game.
New York had a chance to break the tie in the fifth when Gary Sanchez hit his first big league triple off Diego Castillo, who took over for Morton to start the inning, but the reliever got three big plays on defense from Daniel Robertson, Willy Adames, and Diaz to escape the jam. He would not be so lucky an inning later as he allowed a comebacker by Gardner to go off his glove for an infield hit, then walked Clint Frazier, and after a strikeout of LeMahieu, walked Hicks to load the bases and Luke Voit to force in Gardner and break the tie. Kevin Cash then went to Ryne Stanek, who did get Frzier to run into the second out of the inning by trying to score on a ball in the dirt, but ended up intentionally walking Sanchez to reload the bases, and walking Morales to force in another run. Gleyber Torres then reached on an infield single, scoring Voit to make it 8-5 and chasing Stanek from the game. Cash then turned to Casey Sadler, who gave up a bases clearing double to pinch-hitter Thairo Estrada for an 11-5 deficit, and an RBI double by Gardner in his second at bat of the inning to push it to 12-5.
Sadler allowed a solo home run to LeMahieu leading off the eighth to set the score.
The loss drops the Rays back behind the Yankees in the American League East standings, as they now trail New York by a game in the win column.
Tampa Bay Rays (27-17) vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (31-17), 7:10 pm first pitch, with coverage on WDAE beginning at 6:00 with The Inside Pitch.
Rays starter: TBD
Dodgers starter: LHP Clayton kershaw (3-0, 3.40 ERA)