Heading into the month of February, it was completely fair to say...
Rays avoid sweep, shutout Yanks 2-0.
RAYS 2 YANKEES 0
W: Snell (6-8) L: Cessa (4-3) SV: Colome (35)
ST. PETERSBURG – Riding a three-game losing streak, the Tampa Bay Rays were hoping to avoid falling to 24 games below .500 for the first time since 2007, their final year as the Devil Rays. To do that, they’d need to also avoid being swept by the New York Yankees who were fighting for their playoff lives sitting two and a half games back in the wild card race in the American League. The final game between these two teams at Tropicana Field would take place Thursday night with lefty Blake Snell taking the mound for the Rays and the Yanks sending righty Luis Cessa to the hill.
Snell would give up quick base hits to Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury to lead off the ballgame before quickly getting himself out of the inning with no damage done on strikeouts of the very dangerous Gary Sanchez and Billy Butler. In the Rays half of the frame, they’d quickly jump on Cessa with back to back singles from Logan Forsythe and Kevin Kiermaier before Brad Miller would drive home Forsythe two hitters later for an early 1-0 lead.
The Yankees would load the bases off Snell in the top of the third inning but leave them that way as the young lefty escapes a scoring threat in each of the first three innings of the ballgame.
It would remain a 1-0 Rays lead into the sixth inning as Chase Whitley would take over for Snell who pitched well through five despite getting into a few jams. Whitley would allow just a single in the inning against his former team but hold the one-run lead. Corey Dickerson would extend the Rays lead to 2-0 when he crushed his 23rd homerun of the season into the right field seats with two outs in the bottom of the sixth.
Whitley pitched a very impressive 2.2 innings before giving way to All Star closer, Alex Colome, for a four-out save in the eighth. Colome would need just one pitch to get Didi Gregorius to fly out to left field and get the Rays out of the inning still holding a 2-0 lead. The Rays would get Kiermaier’s third hit of the ballgame in the bottom of the inning but Longoria would ground into the double play to erase the baserunner and get the Rays to the top of the ninth with Colome looking for his 35th save of the season.
A lead off single by Aaron Hicks is all the Yankees could get off Colome in the final inning as they leave him stranded at third. The Rays avoid the sweep and win the third game of the series, 2-0.
- The Rays welcome in the first place Boston Red Sox on Friday for the final three-game series of the season between the two clubs.
PROBABLES v RED SOX:
- 9/22 – Pomeranz (2-5, 4.91) v Archer (8-18, 4.05)
- 9/23 – Porcello (21-4, 3.08) v Andriese (8-7, 4.41)
- 9/24 – Rodriguez (3-7, 4.84) v Odorizzi (9-6, 3.73)