NEW YORK — So much for all the script-flipping the Rays supposedly did in Monday’s dramatic fall-from-ahead, come-from-behind win over the Yankees.
Because Tuesday was back to the same old story. The Rays took a lead into the late innings and then watched it slip painfully away, this time in an ugly six-run eighth.
The final was 8-3 Yankees.
The result dropped the Rays to 56-41 and back to six games behind the AL East leaders.
The damage could be much worse, though, because whatever confidence the Rays felt they gained Monday, and whatever demons they felt they vanquished, could be negated by this loss.
“I hope not,’’ manager Kevin Cash said. “I certainly hope not. We had a great game (Monday); we won. Then we come out here (Tuesday), we played a really good game, we came up short a little bit. … We competed really, really well.
The Rays took a 3-2 lead into the eighth with the game in the hands of rookie lefty reliever Colin Poche.
His first mistake was a bad one, walking leadoff man Gleyber Torres.
His next mistake, two outs later, was the big one.
Poche allowed a two-run homer to Aaron Judge that put the Yankees ahead to stay. That he then gave up a single, a double and, after an intentional walk, a grand slam to Didi Gregorius that made it look, and feel, even worse.
"You look at Colin Poche, you kind of feel bad for the guy,'' Cash said. "He did a lot of good. The home run to Judge is one thing, that’s gonna happen. If we had to go back and do it (over), it’s the leadoff walk to Gleyber. Other than that, you’ve got to be pleased with his effort. He’s pitched so good for us. Maybe this is a steppingstone for him.''
yPoche, who was called up last month, may eventually benefit from a lesson learned from the experience, but he acknowledged it wasn’t going to be Tuesday, that the sting was too real. The frustration was evident around the clubhouse.
“It’s frustrating because … after (Monday) night’s win, you want to get this one (Tuesday), and we had the lead, and then we lost it,’’ shortstop Willy Adames said. “And then it was too far away to try and make a comeback.’’
There was another irritant to the night besides the loss.
Yankees starter CC Sabathia seems to have something for the Rays, an animosity that has surfaced several times over the past year. He was ejected from a Sept. 27 game at Tropicana Field last season for hitting then-Rays catcher Jesus Sucre in retaliation for Rays reliever Andrew Kittredge earlier hitting Austin Romine.
Several times the season Sabathia has popped off about the Rays, complaining about hit batters during a May series at the Trop, then admittedly throwing at Rays outfielder Austin Meadows the next series in New York.
His issues surfaced again Tuesday.
Sabathia’s words and aggressive actions after striking out Avisail Garcia looking to end the Rays’ sixth caused tempers to flare and the benches and bullpens to empty. Sabathia was yelling so aggressively at Garcia that Gregorius stepped in front of him to keep Sabathia from going after Garcia.
Garcia said he had no idea what Sabathia was so worked up about.
“I don’t know what was happening,’’ Garcia said. “He got hot for no reason. … I didn’t say anything. … It was for no reason.’’
Sabathia, who likely knew he was done for the night, said it was “a misunderstanding,” that he was “yelling out, trying to pump myself up’’ and that he wasn’t talking to Garcia.
“(Garcia) might have taken offense to it,’’ Sabathia said. “It is what it is. I’m never going to back down.’’
Adames wasn’t sure what was bothering Sabathia, either.
“I don’t know,’’ Adames said. “He stares at people, and if you stare back at him, I think he gets mad. … He’s a veteran guy, and I think he just thinks nobody can stare at him.’’
There seemed to be no more than mild shoving as the players assembled on the field, and the situation was quickly defused.
Garcia heard plenty from the Yankee Stadium crowd of 40,401 when he took his position in rightfield for the bottom of the inning, and more when DJ LeMahieu’s homer sailed over his head, and the fence, to cut the Rays’ lead to 3-2.
"They boo for everything,'' he said. "I don’t really pay attention. It’s New York, so you know how it is.''
It already had been a frustrating game for Garcia, who was robbed of an apparent home run in fourth by leftfielder Brett Gardner leaping at the wall.
The Rays had seemed in position to take the second game of the series, and a fourth overall from the Yankees. Heck, they even got the role-reversal benefit of taking advantage of sloppy baserunning by the Yankees, who ran into two outs on the same play in the fifth."It was nice toi see it happen in our favor,'' Cash said.
The Rays took the early lead and added on.
Lefty-swinging Austin Meadows, getting a start against lefty Sabathia with Guillermo Heredia sent to the minors, hit a two-out solo homer in the second.
The Yankees came back in the bottom of the inning and tied it on a long, loud homer by Edwin Encarnacion, who has 28 homers total after hitting two Monday and, as a result of the December Rays-Indians-Mariners trade, is getting $5 million of his salary paid by the Rays. Plus, the Rays tried to get him before the Yankees swung a deal last month.
Two innings later, the Rays went up 2-1 on a laserlike 110.3 mph homer by Yandy Diaz, the key return the Rays got in that winter deal.
They extended their lead to 3-1 in the sixth when rookie Mike Brosseau beat out an infield single and came around to score on a double by Diaz.
The Yankees cut their deficit to 3-2 in the sixth when LeMahieu led off with a homer off Jalen Beeks, who was sharp of the start of what the Rays limited to 3 1/3 innings.
Poche walked Torres, then struck out Gardner and got dangerous DJ LeMahieu our on a line out.
But that brought up Judge.
The Rays had righty Oliver Drake warming and could have brought him in for a potentially more favorable match up against Judge. But Cash said he liked the idea of Poche using his elevated fastball against Judge.
But Poche said he didn’t have good command, and when he threw seven straight fastball, most which were not elevated as muhc as he wanted them, trouble ensued.
"This is the third or fourth time I’ve faced these guys and maybe it’s time to mix some things up, go to the off-speed pitches a little earlier,'' Poche said. "Try to keep my confidence up next time I’m out there.''
The Rays went into the game coming off the high of Monday night, when they came back to stun the Yankees 5-4 when Travis d’Arnaud hit a three-run homer off closer Aroldis Chapman with two outs and a full count in the ninth.
The teams are slated for the third of the four-game series tonight, though rain is in the forecast.
Contact Marc Topkin at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @TBTimes_Rays.