Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Bay Rays swept by New York Yankees 4-2 in both games

NEW YORK — There were a lot of things for the Rays to be feeling after losing both games of Wednesday's doubleheader by the same frustrating, decided-late 4-2 margins and watching the Yankees celebrate the clinching of the American League East title that had been theirs.

But what prevailed at the end of the long day was lucky. Followed by a dose of fortunate. And a pinch of blessed.

Despite losing three straight to the Yankees, the Rays are getting extra lives in the wild-card playoff race as the Red Sox continue to stumble, losing again to the last-place Orioles. That left the Rays still just 2½ games out, though now with only seven games remaining and the additional element of the Angels officially joining the party, with the same 85-70 record as the Rays.

"Absolutely you feel lucky," manager Joe Maddon said. "We're very fortunate that Baltimore has played as well as they have. … We are fortunate. We've never done anything easily, so let's do this in a more difficult manner.

"I'm not disheartened. I believe we can still do this. I believe our players do, also. We have to be more efficient on offense."

Efficient would be a major step forward. In the three games here, the Rays have scored a grand total of four runs. "Once again," Maddon said, "the inability to get a big hit at the right time is kicking our butt."

It's also wasting some excellent starting pitching, and magnifying mistakes by the short-handed bullpen as both games were decided in the eighth inning.

In the matinee, the Rays had a 2-1 lead and James Shields on the mound and couldn't hold it, as Shields allowed the tying run on a homer and J.P. Howell gave up a two-run double to Robinson Cano.

In the nightcap, they got a solid outing from Jeremy Hellickson and battled CC Sabathia to get to the eighth 2-2, but the bullpen busted as the Yankees loaded the bases on a pinch-hit double and two walks and Jorge Posada delivered a two-run single.

"We're definitely not out of it," outfielder Matt Joyce said. "We're not playing terrible baseball. We're putting up good games. The Yankees are tough, they've played really well. We have to come back (tonight), we understand what we have to do. Right now our backs are against the wall, so we're really going to see what the team is made of."

The start of the night game was delayed 62 minutes by a light rain — so light the tarp wasn't even pulled on the field — making a long day even longer.

The Yankees took a 1-0 lead in the second when Cano opened the second by knocking Hellickson's 2-and-1 pitch over the rightfield wall, then made it 2-0 in the fourth when they loaded the bases and scored on rookie Jesus Montero's double-play grounder.

But the Rays came back to tie it off Sabathia with solo homers by the unlikely duo of Kelly Shoppach and Sean Rodriguez.

The Rays had a prime opportunity to go ahead in the eighth, loading the bases and knocking out Sabathia on singles by Desmond Jennings and B.J. Upton and a walk by Evan Longoria, who worked his way back from an 0-and-2 count.

But Ben Zobrist — who spent the morning at All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg as his newborn daughter underwent a medical procedure — swung at the first pitch from David Robertson and grounded into a double play. It was a tough day overall for Zobrist, who arrived in time to pinch-hit in the first game and ended the night with four strikeouts and the double play.

There was plenty of blame to go around after the 4-2 matinee loss.

Shields said he deserved it for failing to hold the lead. "I'm extremely disappointed," he said. "I've got to do a better job in the eighth inning right there. That's my game right there."

Howell said he deserved it for giving up the crucial hit, falling behind 3-and-1 then hanging a changeup, in a critical moment, as he did last week in Baltimore as well. "I feel bad, I feel terrible," Howell said. "It's tough, it's really tough."

DH Johnny Damon said he deserved it for striking out twice with men on base, but he really was speaking for the whole lineup as it couldn't do more against an octet of Yankees pitchers, including fill-in starter Hector Noesi and three other fringe members of the staff.

"The offense, including myself, was not good at all," Damon said. "We should have scored more."

Marc Topkin can be reached at topkin@sptimes.com.

Tampa Bay Rays swept by New York Yankees 4-2 in both games 09/21/11 [Last modified: Thursday, September 22, 2011 12:22am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. U.S. repeats as Solheim Cup champion

    Golf

    WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — Lexi Thompson set the tone by rallying from four holes down. The rest of the Americans took it from there and restored their dominance in the Solheim Cup

    Lexi Thompson, left, comes back from four holes down to halve the day’s first singles match with Europe’s Anna Nordqvist to set the tone for the United States.
  2. Rays see the Blake Snell they've been waiting for in win over Mariners

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — It was a one-run game Sunday when the Mariners' Robinson Cano singled with one out in the seventh inning, bringing the dangerous Nelson Cruz to the plate.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Blake Snell (4) throwing in the third inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017.
  3. Bucs journal: Demar Dotson (mild groin strain) expected back for opener

    Bucs

    TAMPA — The Bucs got good news Sunday on starting right tackle Demar Dotson, whose MRI exam showed only a mild right groin sprain and who should be back at practice next week.

    Tackle Demar Dotson has only a mild groin strain.
  4. Bucs counting on better health creating better pass rush

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Ask Bucs coaches about the improved depth and health of their defensive line, and they'll look around for a piece of wood to knock on.

    Retired All-Pro defensive end  Simeon Rice, right, the last Buc to have double-digit sacks in a season,  works with defensive end Ryan Russell, who last season was promoted from the practice squad for the second half of the year as injuries piled up. He is competing for a backup job this year.
  5. Rays journal: Jake Faria heads to DL with left abdominal strain

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — RHP Jacob Faria made the trek he didn't want to take after his last start. It was to the trainer's room. The pain in his left abdominal went from nagging to an issue during his start that night in Toronto.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Jacob Faria (34) throwing in the first inning of the game between the Milwaukee Brewers and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Friday, August 4, 2017.