(Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
ST. PETERSBURG (WDAE) -- Travis d'Arnaud saw the Tampa Bay Rays' one-run lead evaporate with two strikes and two out in the top of the ninth inning, and decided to do something about it.
The Rays catcher homered off Chad Green with two out in the bottom of the ninth inning to break a 3-3 tie, leading the Rays to a 4-3 win over the New York Yankees and snapping Tampa Bay's six-game losing streak against the leaders in the American League East.
d'Arnaud's home run came after Chad Green got Kevin kiermaier to ground out to start the home half of the ninth inning, then struck out Willy Adames before the catcher took the first pitch of his at-bat and backspun it over the fence in right-center for his sixth home run of the year.
"I was just looking for a pitch to do damage on," d'Arnaud said. "Fortunately, I got a good pitch to hit and just made sure I kept my eye on it – that’s all [hitting coach Chad] Mottola told me to do and a good result happened."
New York got the scoring started in the second inning, when Brett Gardner, whose three-run blast in the tenth inning Friday helped salt away an 8-4 win, hit a solo homer off Blake Snell, his 14th home run of the year.
Yankees starter CC Sabathia could not get a shutdown inning in the bottom of the second, as Mike Brosseau walked, moved to third on a base hit by Kiermaier and scored on a base hit by d'Arnaud.
Snell left after just five innings, having allowed the one run on five hits with two walks and five strikeouts.
Chaz Roe worked a scoreless sixth, but Jose Alvarado could not keep the game tied in the seventh, as a leadoff walk to Gio Urshela would eventually come arouns to score on a base hit by Aaron Hicks.
d'Arnaud started a two-out rally in the seventh, singling off Sabathia in from of Nate Lowe, who took a 1-2 pitch and sent it deep in to the seats in right-center for his second home run of the year and second in as many days.
Oliver Drake worked a scoreless eighth and got the first two outs in the ninth before Cash turned to Colin Poche to make the switch-hitting Hicks bat from the right side, which he has an OPS of just .590 instead of the left side, where his OPS jumps all the way to .818. But the move backfired as the center fielder got a hold of a 2-2 offering and was able to get it into the seats in left to tie the game again.
Poche struck out Gary Sanchez to end the inning, setting up d'Arnaud for his heroics.
The win is Tampa Bay's against the Yankees first since May 18, and gives the Rays an opportunity to earn a series split with a win in Sunday's finale.
Tampa Bay Rays (51-39) vs. New York Yankees (57-30), 1:10 pm first pitch, with coverage on WDAE beginning at 11:00 am with The Inside Pitch.
Rays starter: RHP Charlie Morton (9-2, 2.36 ERA)
Yankees starter: LHP James Paxton (5-3, 4.09 ERA)