NEW YORK-- On the strength of three home runs by their catcher Travis d'Arnaud including one in the bottom of the 9th off New York closer Aroldis Chapman, the Tampa Bay Rays overcame a two run deficit to beat the Yankees 5-4 on Monday night.
Tampa Bay entered the game having won five of their last six games overall. And after scoring 33 runs in Baltimore in their first four games after the All-Star break, the Rays jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first on a lead-off home run to right field by catcher Travis d'Arnaud his seventh of the season off New York starter James Paxton.
Meanwhile New York was looking to continue their recent home success, after winning 30 of their previous 39 home games. But after Tampa Bay starter Blake Snell struggled through the first two innings, facing the full count on four of the first eight batters he faced, in the top of the third with one out d'Arnaud hit a shot over the wall in right, that looked like a replay to his first home run. It was the fourth career multi-home run game for the Rays catcher.
Snell needed to get just two outs in the game to eclipse his previous outing at Yankee Stadium. The last time the Rays lefty faced the Yankees in New York, he allowed 6 runs in one third of an inning on June 19th.
Snell got through the first three innings unscathed but in the bottom of the fourth with two outs, Yankees first baseman Edwin Encarnacion hit back to back pitches well into the left-field seats. The first one went deep but foul but the next pitch was fair & four rows behind the left-field wall for a solo home run.
Snell struck out Yankees shortstop Gleyber Torres to end the fourth & retired New York in order on 13 pitches in the fifth, which ended up being his final inning of the game. Rays reliever Diego Castillo, who recently returned to the team after spending time on the injured list with right shoulder inflammation, started the sixth by walking Yankees right-fielder Aaron Judge but then retired the next five batters he faced until he was replaced Emilio Pagan.
Trailing 2-1 with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, the Yankees got their second solo home run of the game when third baseman Gio Urshela hit a Pagan pitch just over the wall in left-field to tie the game at two.
Rays manager Kevin Cash went to the bullpen again to start the bottom of the eighth, giving the ball to righty reliever Andrew Kittredge, who retired the first two batters he faced in the inning. But Yankees center-fielder Aaron Hicks singled to right-center. And on the 9th pitch of his at bat, Encarnacion crushed a pitch over the wall in left-field for his second home run of the game to make the scored 4-2. And since being traded to New York, four of Encarnaction's five hits against the Rays have been home runs.
Entering the 9th & trailing for the first time in the game, the Rays were faced with the two run deficit against Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman. Chapman allowed back to back singles then struck out two straight batters before d'Arnaud, who reached base on all five of his plate appearances, hit the full count pitch into the right-field bleachers giving the Rays the lead again, this time 5-4.
d'Arnaud's three home runs tied a club record for home runs in a game, becoming the five Rays player to accomplish the feat, with the most recent player being former Rays third baseman Evan Longoria.
Cash stayed with Kittredge to start the bottom of the 9th. Kittredge got the first two outs of the inning but then walked Judge & that's when Cash brought in reliever Oliver Drake. Drake struck out designated hitter Luke Voit to end the game, picking up his second career save.
Tampa Bay will look to guarantee themselves a split in the series when they play the second game of the four game series on Tuesday night. The Rays will use Ryne Stanek (0-2 3.14) as their opener while the Yankees will start lefty CC Sabathia (5-4 4.03). Coverage begins on 95.3 WDAE at 6 PM with the Inside Pitch & first pitch is scheduled for 7:10.