Yandy Diaz hit a pair of homers driving in a career high four runs as the Tampa Bay Rays defeated the New York Yankees 7-2 on Saturday night.
Yonny Chirinos (5-1, 3.61 ERA) worked four innings to pick up the win for the Rays who maintain first place in the AL East 24-14.
The Rays hold a 1.5-game lead over New York and have now been in first place since the end of play March 31st. A span of 42 straight days, marking the third longest streak in franchise history. It was the first time Tampa Bay had played a game for sole possession of first place since July 29, 2013 at Boston against the Red Sox.
Jonathan Holder (2-1, 4.50 ERA) takes the loss for New York who drop to 23-16 on the year. It was just the sixth loss for the Yankees in their last 21 games.
Ryne Stanek was tasked as the opener and worked the first two innings scoreless. It was Stanek’s 10th start of the season and he’s pitched to an 0-1 mark with an ERA of 1.72 (3ER/15.2IP). Overall, Tampa Bay has used the opener 11 times this season.
After Chirinos worked four innings in which he allowed two earned runs, Kevin Cash turned the ball over to Diego Castillo who worked two scoreless frames. Jose Alvarado retired the Yankees in order in the ninth. It was Alvarado’s first action since Wednesday afternoon’s loss to the Diamondbacks.
The Rays jumped out to an early 1-0 lead on a solo homer off the bat of Avisail Garcia in the bottom of the second inning. It was Garcia’s sixth homer of the season. It was his first homer of the season against a left handed pitcher.
Yandy Diaz extended the Rays lead to 2-0 in the bottom of the third with a solo homer. It was his eighth homer of the season and snaps a 10-game homerless drought dating back to April 27th against the Boston Red Sox.
The Yankees cut the lead in half in the fifth on a Clint Frazier RBI double and tied the game in the sixth on a DJ LeMahieu solo homer. It was the eighth homer allowed by Chirinos in 42.1 innings of work this season. He allowed just seven homers in 89.2 innings of work last season
Tampa Bay regained the lead in the bottom of the sixth inning scoring a pair of runs off Jonathan Holder.
Avisail Garcia led off the inning with a single, stole second, and moved to third on an errant Gary Sanchez throw into centerfield. Guillermo Heredia drew a 2-out walk to put runners on the corners. The Rays had been frustrated with runners in scoring position and were mired in a 2-for-30 drought going back to Wednesday’s game against Arizona.
They finally got the hits they were looking for as Willy Adames delivered an RBI infield single to score Garcia and Ji-Man Choi followed with a single of his own to score Heredia all the way from second.
Tampa Bay opened the lead up in the eighth inning on Yandy Diaz’s second homer of the game, a 3-run opposite field shot. It was his first ever multi-homer game and gave him a career high 4-RBI..
Sigh of Relief – Sort Of:
Prior to the game, the Tampa Bay Rays announced that Tyler Glasnow‘s MRI on his right forearm revealed a mild right forearm strain. He will be shut down from throwing for 7-10 days and is expected to miss 4-6 weeks. Much better outcome than the dreaded torn ulnar collateral ligament. He was placed on the 10-day injured list and Andrew Velazquez was recalled from Durham to take his place on the roster.
The Rays enter Sunday’s action looking to win their 10th series of the season (9-1-2).