Rays Trim Yankees Lead In AL East To 4 GamesFollow @Steve_Kinsella1
Tampa, FL – The Tampa Bay Rays defeated the New York Yankees 2-1 on Saturday night in front of 21,754 fans at Tropicana Field. Corey Kluber (10-7, 4.00 ERA) was masterful shutting the Yankees out for 7 innings. Pete Fairbanks retired New York in order in the eighth and Jason Adam protected the lead in the ninth picking up his eighth save on the season. The win improves Tampa Bay to 74-57 and trims the Yankees lead in the AL East to four games and only three in the loss column.
Manager Kevin Cash was impressed with his bullpen preserving the two run lead. “We’re going to have to lean on these guys throughout the month of September for sure.” He said. “Pete [Fairbanks] and Adam [Jason] have had plenty of those reps that even when a home run goes off the bat that he can take a breath and control it.”
Clarke Schmidt (5-4, 3.02 ERA) takes the loss for New York who fall to 79-54 on the season. New York is now 3-6 on their 10-game road trip and have lost six of their last seven games. Aaron Jude accounted for New York’s only run in the series when he homered off Jason Adam in the ninth inning to cut the Rays lead in half. It was Judge’s 52nd homer on the season.
Tampa Bay scored its two runs in the third inning on a Yandy Diaz single that scored Francisco Mejia and Jose Siri. Mejia and Siri opened the inning with back to back singles and moved to 2nd and 3rd on a sacrifice bunt by Taylor Walls. Walls decision to lay down the sacrifice bunt didn’t come from the bench, according to Kevin Cash Walls did that on his own. “He recognized that it was big to move those guys over.”
Corey Kluber worked through the seventh inning holding the Yankees scoreless on two hits while striking out four and walking none. It was his first time completing seven innings since throwing his no-hitter versus the Texas Rangers on May 19, 2021. It was just the fifth time since the 2019 season that he’s completed 7 or more innings. “I think he had a click and a half or a click better on his fastball, a little amped up. Really located it well.” Cash said. “When he needed a breaking ball he had that, just an extremely well pitched game.”
Clarke Schmidt worked 4.1-innnigs allowing two earned runs on four hits while striking out two and walking none. He threw 63-pitches with 48 for strikes.
FRANCO HEADS BACK ON REHAB:
Wander Franco has been out of the Rays lineup since July 9th after having surgery on his fractured right hamate bone on July 10th. On Sunday he’s expected to rejoin the Durham Bulls and resume his rehab stint and return to the Rays in about a week. Franco had started a rehab appearance earlier in August but had lingering soreness and returned to St. Petersburg to build up strength in the wrist. Through Manny Navarro Franco said that “this is definitley the best he’s felt since the injury.”
Franco has only appeared in 58 games with Tampa Bay this season and was batting .260/.308/.396 with five homers and five stolen bases.
UP NEXT FOR RAYS:
Tampa Bay and New York complete their three game series on Sunday afternoon at 1:40 p.m. EST. Tampa Bay is going to use Shawn Armstrong (2-1, 3.73 ERA) will open the game and Ryan Yarbrough (1-8, 4.87 ERA) is expected to work in some capacity. New York will counter with right-hander Frankie Montas (4-11 3.94 ERA).
After the Yankees and Rays conclude their series the Rays stay at home and welcome in the Boston Red Sox for a three game series starting Monday. New York returns home to take on the Minnesota Twins for four games. The Rays and Yankees will meet again for the final three games of their season series next weekend in the Bronx.