W: Peter Fairbanks (2-1, 4.50 ERA) L: Micheal King (0-1, 7.59 ERA) Sv: Anderson (2)Follow @Steve_Kinsella1
St. Petersburg, Fla – Austin Meadows dropped a bloop single to left in the fourth inning to open the Rays lead to 5-1. The two runs were the last scored by Tampa Bay as they held on to defeat the New York Yankees 5-3 and earn a split in their doubleheader.
Meadows blooper had an exit velocity of only 65.4 miles per hour, but when an offense is struggling the ways the Rays is any hit at any velocity is welcomed. Especially with men in scoring position. “We’ll take any of them, hard hit or blooper, it doesn’t matter right now.” Kevin Cash said. “We just want to find a way to get guys on base and come up with a hit. It doesn’t have to be the hardest hit ball. When you are scuffling as a team, like we have been, it’s been noted, anything like that can really energize the dugout.”
Meadows noted after the game how important it was for Yandy Diaz to draw the walk to load the bases to bring him to the plate. “Just trying to put the bat on the ball and not trying to do too much. A little filet job was able to land in there and get us two runs to extend the lead. “
Michael King (0-1, 7.59 ERA) takes the loss for New York who fall to 10-5 on the year. It was King’s first major league start and he allowed three runs (all earned) in 3.2-innings while striking out four and walking five.
Ryan Thompson opened for the Rays and gave them exactly what they could have hoped for logging two innings of scoreless baseball. He limited New York to just a single by Aaron Hicks and was efficient only needing only 20 pitches.
“Outstanding, I don’t know if he’s ever opened a game, started a game I have no idea but he came in and was pretty much in attack mode with the sinkers, went through really really good hitters, kept the ball on the ground.” Kevin Cash said. “Just a very professional mature approach to going out and attacking with his best stuff and creating a lot of ground balls.”
The Rays scored the first run of the game on a bases loaded walk to Yoshi Tsutsugo in the bottom of the first. Scoring first has been a rare occurrence for the Rays offense in 2020. Heading into the game, they had trailed in 12 of 14 games. It was just the fourth time this season they have scored first in a game, the fewest in the AL and tied for the fewest in the majors.
Diego Castillo kept the Yankees quiet in the third inning and was replaced by Peter Fairbanks in the fourth.
Fairbanks retired Aaron Hicks to open the inning but issued a walk to Giancarlo Stanton. Stanton moved into scoring position on wild pitch and moved to third on a single by Gleyber Torres. Luke Voit tied the game with a single to center fielder Kevin Kiermaier who helped his pitcher out by throwing out Torres trying to advance to third.
The Rays regained the lead in the bottom of the fourth after loading the bases with two outs courtesy of three walks. The first two walks were to Willy Adames and Kevin Kiermaier. The walk to Kiermaier ended Yankee starter Micheal King’s night.
The Yankees brought in lefty Luis Avilan to face lefty Michael Perez but Kevin Cash went to his bench for Yandy Diaz to pinch hit. Avilan walked him to load the bases for Austin Meadows who dropped a soft single to left scoring both Adames and Kiermaier.
With a 3-1 lead heading to the fifth inning, Tampa Bay handed the ball to Andrew Kittredge who retired the Yankees in order. Kittredge threw a pitch high and inside to DJ LeMahieu and their was a brief exchange between the Yankees bench and home plate umpire Vic Carapazza.
Jalen Beeks took over for Andrew Kittredge in the sixth inning. He got into trouble in the sixth inning but was able to get a double play ball to end the threat.
Kevin Cash elected to stick with him in the 7th innning and he allowed a leadoff single to Luke Voit but got a double play ball off the bat of Mike Tauchman.
The final out is always elusive and even with a 5-1 lead against the bottom of the Yankees order up. Gio Urshela singled and moved to third on a double by the ninth hitter Erik Kratz. DJ LeMahieu followed with a single to score both Ushela and Kratz.
Beeks evening was over and Nick Anderson came in to face Aaron Judge who leads the majors in homers with seven. Judge took the count full before flying out to deep center to end the game.
The two teams will finish their four game series on Sunday afternoon at 1:10 pm. Charlie Morton (1-1, 5.52 ERA) will start for the Rays. The Yankees will counter with left-hander James Paxton (0-1, 13.50 ERA).