The Yankees came into this rubber series hoping to continue their win streak of the last 13 home stands (12 wins and 1 tie) since mid-April. They seemed to find all the right moments to orchestrate another win as they continue their march toward October on top of the American League.
The Yankees started the minor offense today in the 2nd. Voit led-off with a single and moved to 3rd on Torres’ double to put them in scoring position. One out later, Gio Urhsela stepped up with a long single to score both runners to get the ball rolling, so to speak.
Masahiro Tanaka had a strong start in this afternoon’s closing game against the Rays this weekend. He threw 79 pitches in 6 innings, giving up 4 hits and 2 runs and striking out 5 batters to earn the eventual win. In the 5th, the Rays got a big lead-off solo home run and a 2-out solo home run to tie up the game.
The Yankees answered back in the bottom of the 5th. Gio Urshela led-off with a single and moved to 2nd on Romine’s walk. After an unsuccessful bunt pop out, LeMahieu hit into a fielder’s choice out at 2nd to get runners on the corners. A wild pitch had Urshela making a mad dash for home.
Now, he was originally called out, which would end the inning, but the Yankees wisely opted to challenge the call. Urhsela’s foot touched home just before the Rays’ catcher tagged Urshela’s chest. The call was overturned, and the Yankees were back in the lead.
In the 7th, with a new pitcher and 1 out, Mike Tauchman added an insurance run with a big solo home run into the right field bleachers. But the Yankees were halted there from adding further runs on their score.
The Yankee bullpen were also strong today, helping prevent the Rays from their own offensive impact in the latter third of the game. Ottavino and Kahnle split the scoreless 7th, and Britton kept things moving through the 8th. Chapman needed just 8 pitches to close out the 9th and earn his 25th save of the season.
Final score: 4-2 Yankees, Yankees win series 2-1
Next up: The Yankees continue their home stand by hosting the Rays for 4 games this week and the Rockies next weekend. They will then hit the road for their first road trip of the second half with 3 games against the Twins and a 4-game weekend series in Boston.
Gio Urshela was undoubtedly the key player in today’s game bother offensively with 2 RBIs and defensively (and also here). Though to be fair, Tanaka and Tauchman and Torres and pretty much most of the guys who took the field today all pulled through in their own way, much like they do nearly every game. If any team deserves to be atop the standings, it’s certainly this year’s Yankees.