Rays End First Half With Series Split, Defeat Yankees 2-1

The Tampa Bay Rays scored two runs in the first inning and held on to defeat the New York Yankees 2-1. They end the first half with a record of 52-39 and 6.5 games behind the Yankees in the AL East.

The victory marks the first time Tampa Bay has won back-to-back one run games since July 25 through 26, 2018 against the Yankees and the Baltimore Orioles.

The Rays finish their 10-game homestand with a winning mark of 6-4 and they improve to 7-10 in one-run games, including winnign three of their last four such games.

Tampa Bay finishes a grueling stretch of 47 games in 48 days with a record of 25-22. The All-Star break will be a welcome relief for everyone. “The guys are excited to go do whatever they’re going to do. Go get away with their families, their kids, whatever.” Kevin Cash said. “Or just chill. rest the bodies a little bit. I’m sure it’s welcomed by everybody in that room.”

Charlie Morton (10-2, 2.32 ERA) picks up the win for Tampa Bay working 5.2-innings allowing just one run on five hits while striking out 10 and walking one.

Morton’s 10-2 mark in the first half is the best in franchise history among qualifying pitchers before the All-Star break. “I feel good about my body of work in the first half.” Morton said. “I think for the most part i’ve been able to keep the team in games and work a little bit deeper into some games in the past month, which haas been pretty rewarding. It’s the first half. We’ve got a long way to go.”

James Paxton (5-4, 4.01 ERA) takes the loss for New York who fall to 57-31 on the season. It’s the first time the Yankees have lost back-to-back games since June 11 through 14th. Their offense erupted for 16 runs in the first two games of the series but were held to just four runs over the final two games. It’s the first time their offense has been held to four runs or less in back-to-back games since May 8 though 9th against Seattle.

Rays Bullpen Locks Down The Victory:

The Rays bullpen, which had struggled mightily of late, worked 3.1 innings and didn’t allow a hit. Adam Kolarek was brought on to face Brett Gardner in the sixth and he got him to ground out to the mound. Since his recall from Durham on June 22nd Kolarek has allowed just one earned run in 8.2-innings spanning eight appearances.

Andrew Kittredge worked 1.2 scoreless frames and struck out a pair. Kittredge’s last seven appearances spanning 9.2-innings have been scoreless.

Colin Poche entered the game in the bottom of the eighth and retired Didi Gregorius to end the inning.

Emilio Pagan had already allowed three earned runs in 2.1-innings to the Yankees in the first two games of the series but came back to retire the Yankees in order in the ninth picking up his fifth save on the season.

Rays Jump Out To Early Lead, Don’t Look Back:

Travis d’Arnaud ended Saturday’s game with a walkoff homer and opened the home half of the first with a double and scored the games first run on a double by Tommy Pham. Credit Pham with noticing that nobody covered second base on his hit to center which allowed him to move up. Pham moved to third on a Yandy Diaz single and came into score on a Avisail Garcia fielders choice.

Tommy Pham finished the game 2-for-4 on the heels of yesterday’s 2-for-4 performance. His two doubles today mark his fourth mulit-extra base hit of the season and first since June 19th at New York against the Yankees.

Pham had a simple strategy against Paxton but the results don’t seem to match with how he feels at the plate. “Get him in the strike zone. Swing at strikes.” He said. “Mechanically, I’m not right right now. I’m very happy to leave this game with a W and two hits. The feel doesn’t match the production right now for me. But I’ll take it.”

Gardner’s Blast Accounts For All Yankees Runs:

Brett Gardner cut the Rays lead to 2-1 in the top of the second hitting belting his 15th homer of the season. It was his fourth homer agains the Rays this season.

Up Next For Rays:

The Rays will open the second half of the season Friday night in Baltimore against the Orioles. Yonny Chirinos (7-4, 3.15 ERA) is expected to start for Tampa Bay.

I am a fan of all sports but am most passionate about baseball. From the fanatical to analytical, nothing about the game escapes me. Being born and raised in Northeast Ohio I'm very familiar with the heartache and pain that sports can bring and hope that I bring some understanding of the other side to my coverage. I will focus mostly on baseball but also cover the Tampa Bay Lightning, one of the most electric franchises in all of sports. Always willing to converse about any sport and have only one rule and that is be respectful at all times.