Rays pitcher Ryne Stanek congratulates teammate Ryan Yarbrough after their combined perfect game bid game to an end in the ninth inning Sunday in Baltimore (Will Newton/Getty Images)
The Tampa Bay Rays fell just short of history, as the team's bid for the first combined perfect game bid in Major League history fell in the bottom of the ninth inning, but the team held on for a 4-1 win over the Baltimore Orioles Sunday, taking three out of four at Camden Yards over the weekend.
Ryne Stanek started by retiring the first six hitters in a row, striking out two in a 31-pitch performance, Ryan Yarbrough then took over in the third and worked all the way through the eighth retiring every Orioles batter in a row until Hansel Alberto singled on the first pitch in the top of the ninth inning.
Tampa Bay jumped in front in the top of the second, loading the bases against Tom Eshelman with nobody out, though they would only get one run on a sacrifice fly by Joey Wendle, taking a 1-0 lead.
Austin Meadows doubled the lead an inning later, blasting an Eshelman pitch on to Eutaw Street for his first home run since May 28 and the fourth home run by a Rays hitter to reach the walkway.
Mike Brosseau's big weekend continued Sunday, as he doubled Tampa Bay's lead to 4-0 with a two-run blast, his fourth of the year and third in the last two games, that chased Eshelman from the game.
After Alberto ended the perfect game bid leading off the ninth, Stevie Wilkerson followed with a single, and pinch-hitter Chance Sisco struck out to end the left-hander's afternoon. Oliver Drake got Jonathan Villar to ground into a fielder's choice, erasing Wilkerson at second, but Anthony Santander ended the shutout bid with a base hit and allowed Trey Mancini to hit as the potential tying run. Kevin Cash brought in Emilio Pagan, who struck out Mancini, who was held hitless for the entire series, to end the game and record his sixth save.
The win allows Tampa Bay to keep pace with the division-leading New York Yankees, who defeated Toronto at home Sunday going into a critical four-game series that begins Monday in the Bronx.
Tampa Bay Rays (55-40) at New York Yankees (59-32), 7:05 p.m. first pitch, with coverage on WDAE beginning at 6:00 with The Inside Pitch.
Rays starter: LHP Blake Snell (5-7, 4.70 ERA)
Yankees starter: LHP James Paxton (5-4, 4.01 ERA)