ST. PETERSBURG — RHP Yonny Chirinos gave the Rays the solid start they so badly needed Tuesday. But he got little help from his friends, who were shut down and shut out by Yankees righty Masahiro Tanaka in a quiet 4-0 loss.
"We ran into a dude who had an unreal night,'' Rays LF Jake Bauers said.
Tanaka retired the first 12 Rays, allowed only three hits total, worked out of the one jam he had by helping turn a sixth-inning-ending double play on speedy Mallex Smith, and struck out a season-high matching nine in throwing 105 pitches for his sixth career complete game and third shutout.
"He made two or three mistakes all night; when you pitch like that you're going to have success,'' Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "A couple balls up that C.J. (Cron) handled, other than that he was at the knees or below, and a lot of late action. Cut, sink and the split is kind of the equalizer. He was really good, really tough.''
Chirinos, in his first big-league start since April 28 following a DL stint and a demotion, was pretty good, too, which is kind of key for a Rays team again down to two healthy starters.
He worked into the seventh, holding the Yankees to six hits and an intentional walk, striking out six, allowing three runs, and relative softies at that. Two scored on infield outs and another on a sac fly after a fly ball dropped in front of Bauers in shallow left.
"I thought he was outstanding, I really did,'' Cash said. "Yonny got us much deeper in the ballgame than maybe we were anticipating before the game started.''
Chirinos said he felt good and welcomed the opportunity regardless of the challenge of facing the Yankees.
"I'm just out there to compete,'' he said through team interpreter Manny Navarro. "It doesn't matter who it is out there. I try not to think about who is in the box. It felt good to be out there.''
The Rays' best, and really only, opportunity came in the fifth, when Cron singled for their first hit and Ji-Man Choi walked. But Tanaka struck out Daniel Robertson, and Smith grounded into a 3-6-1 double play.
"He really locked in on Robby and Mallex,'' Cash said. "You want to move the ball but he made good pitches, really good pitches.''
Tanaka, worked with the benefit of eight days' rest after Sunday's rainout, kept the Rays off balance with his off-speed pitches.
"Just how efficient he was,'' Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. "And really the feel and command he had for his slider, and the ability to dump in some first-pitch curveballs, and then the split was great tonight, too. Really commanded it how he wanted to, got to two strikes, a lot of swings and misses. Just really perfect execution all night.''
Wendle honored for heart, hustle
Rookie Joey Wendle does a lot for the Rays — play almost anywhere on the field, bat just about everywhere in the lineup, and all with intent and effort. Tuesday, he was rewarded in being chosen the Rays winner of the Heart and Hustle award, presented by the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association to players "who demonstrate a passion for the game of baseball and best embody the values, spirit and traditions of the game." Wendle said that's the only way he knows how to play. "For me it's just about playing the game the right way,'' he said. "We have a team full of scrappy guys that plat the game hard so for me to be the winner is certainly an honor. So it's pretty cool.'' A national winner is chosen from the 30 team nominees.
The reason for Sanchez's lack of hustling
There apparently was cause for Yankees C Gary Sanchez's much-discussed lack of hustle on Monday's final play, when Rays rookie SS Willy Adames alertly threw to first to get the third out after failing to get Aaron Hicks at second: Sanchez re-strained his groin. The injury, which the Yankees said was confirmed in an MRI, landed Sanchez back on the DL, potentially for weeks. Boone said he had planned to seek out Sanchez "to go over a couple of the situations" in the game — there was earlier lack of hustle after a passed ball — when Sanchez came into his office. A long chat ended with mention of some groin tightness, and when Sanchez woke up sorer, the Yankees had him checked out. Sanchez said, however, "an injury is never an excuse" and that he "could have done a better job." Austin Romine started at catcher Tuesday, knocking in two runs, and Kyle Higashioka was called up.
Medical matters: Venters, Romo, Ramos
After two rainouts, LHP Jonny Venters (hamstring) finally made his second outing with the advanced Class A Stone Crabs, throwing a 26-pitch inning (2 hits, 1 walk, 3 Ks). He could be activated as soon as today. … RHP Sergio Romo was over his stomach flu enough to be available Tuesday, but Cash said they told him to not show up until game time to limit exposure to other players. … Expecting C Wilson Ramos (hamstring) to be out an extended time, the Rays were encouraged by his comments about eyeing a return next week. "For him to come out and say what he said was pretty big,'' Cash said. "That's great. I hope he's feeling good. … We've got to make sure he's able to be mobile enough to where he doesn't pull it again. That's the biggest key.'' … LHP Vidal Nuno is close to throwing live batting practice, typically the last activity before starting a rehab assignment.
• OF Johnny Field was lost on waivers to the Indians. Field, who hit .213 with six homers, 14 RBIs and a .626 OPS in 62 games, was DFA'd Friday so the Rays could add C Adam Moore to the 40-man roster.
• The loss ended the Rays' five-game inning streak over the Yankees. It was the seventh time they were shut out.
•Robertson said he should have thrown to first at the start of the final play Monday but felt he was in an odd position due to the shift so he tossed to Willy Adames at second.
• Yankees 2B Gleyber Torres is expected to be activated from the DL for today's game.