Rays lose 5-1 in 12 innings to Yankees
A long Easter Sunday for the Rays ended in a 5-1 12-inning loss to the Yankees.
The Yankees turned when Rays rookie reliever C.J. Riefenhauser, the 24-year-old New Yorker called up Saturday to make his major-league debut against the team he grew up cheering for, walked in the go-ahead run.
The loss resulted in a split of the series with the Yankees and dropped the Rays to 9-10 overall.
The Yankees rally started when Heath Bell walked Yangervis Solarte. Rays manager Joe Maddon then turned to Riefenhauser, who ot one out when Brett Gardner tapped back to the mound, but beat the relay to first, and another on a line out to short.
But with two outs, Brian McCann singled up the middle, Gardner racing to third - and considering trying to score before being held.
Maddon then made the decision to have Riefenhauser walk Ellsbury, loading the bases, to instead face the less threatening Dean Anna. That strategy looked good as Riefenhauser got ahead in the count 1-and-2, not so much when it became full, and not at all when home-plate ump Clint Fagan ruled Anna checked his swing, and third-base ump Marty Foster concurred, forcing in the go-ahead run.
Replay factored into several key points in the game.
The Yankees took a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning on a play that replay helped the umpires get right. Alfonso Soriano was on second with two outs when Brett Gardner hit a ball to the rightfield wall. Rays rightfielder Wil Myers jumped up and came down with the ball, and the Rays headed off the field.
But it didn't look right, Yankees manager Joe Girardi challenged, and replays clearly showed the ball hit the mesh fence atop the wall, then the padding, then went into Myers' glove.
Even before the umps were done on the headsets, Rays players saw the replay on the stadium board and headed back on to the field, Soriano scoring on what was determined to be a double.
The 1-0 lead lasted for a while as the Rays, after scoring 27 runs the previous two nights, didn't even get a hit until the fourth inning and didn't score until the seventh. James Loney tagging up on pinch-hitter Matt Joyce's sac fly.
The Rays got some help in loading the bases with one out, as Loney singled and Yankees second baseman Brian Roberts mishandled a throw to start what would have been an inning-ending double play, the new version of the transfer rule that manager Joe Maddon has so opposed working in the Rays favor.
With two on and no outs, Yunel Escobar singled to load 'em up, and Joyce, pinch-hitting for catcher Ryan Hanigan, laced a ball to right. Carlos Beltran made the catch but Loney - not the fleetest of foot - beat his throw to the plate.
The Rays had a chance to win it in the ninth when James Loney drew a leadoff walk from Shawn Kelly and Brandon Guyer, knocked down in the process, bunted him to second. But Yunel Escobar grounded out and after the Yankees intentionally walked Matt Joyce, Jose Molina was called out on strikes.
Then the Yankees had a chance in the 11th when Ichiro Suzuki, pinch-running for Derek Jeter, was called safe on a steal of second. But the Rays challenged after a 2-plus minute delay the call was overturned, and Ichiro was out.
Cesar Ramos made an improved showing for the Rays in his second start, allowing just the one run on four hits over five innings, but Maddon pulled him after five innings - and only 53 pitches.
With Monday off, Maddon was aggressive in using his bullpen, running through Brandon Gomes, Jake McGee, Joel Peralta, Grant Balfour, Heath Bell and just-called-up C.J. Riefenhauser.