Bronx, NY – In the second emotion filled tribute days at Yankee Stadium the Tampa Bay Rays powered by Reid Brignac and Carlos Pena combined for eight runs batted in to help the Rays (55-35) to defeat the New York Yankees (57-33) by the score of 10-5 in Saturday evening baseball in the Bronx.
As the Yankees celebrated the 64th annual Old-Timers day while honoring the memory of legendary announcer Bob Sheppard the team could not rewrite the magical comeback victory that they had yesterday. Rays’ starter Jeff Niemann (8-2) had a great outing going six and one-thirds innings, striking out six batters, while giving up six hits, four runs and four walks.
“I thought that he (Niemann) did great,” manager Joe Maddon said of his starter after the game. “It was a tough start and he was able to get us deeper into the game. That was enough. He had one rough stretch out there today, but he once again did well.”
Niemann had this to say of the start today, “I just went out to the mound and made my pitches, whenever I got into trouble today the defense really bailed me out and that was the key to our win today.” On the offense he said, “It was great to get the early lead when you are a pitcher you want that lead to make things more comfortable so it was awesome to see.”
A.J. Burnett (7-8) started the game a man on a mission getting two quick outs, but started to falter as he gave up early runs in a two innings plus two batter outing, giving up four hits and four runs, while also hitting two batters. Burnett came out in the top of the third inning with a laceration on his pitching hand.
In his frustration in giving up three unearned runs to the Rays the starter Burnett pushed on the plexiglass in the dugout which holds the lineup cards, and caused the cut in his hand.
“It was an embarrassment what I did today,” Burnett said to reporters after the game. “I could have gone out to the mound and shut the Rays out for the next five or six innings.” The starter continued to say, “I was told by my manager Joe Girardi and by the GM Brian Cashman that I am needed here, that my team needs to be thought of and 100% this will never happen again.”
Even though Burnett was hurt the Rays had a huge day offensively cashing in on scoring opportunities early and often. Starting with the first run as Carlos Pena ripped a double (11) to right field which gave the Rays the 1-0 lead. While helping the team off offensively, Pena also had a great defensive play in the bottom of that inning robbing Nick Swisher of a base hit.
“Every time I can contribute with the bat it is a good thing,” Pena said. “That is what I like to do is to swing the bat and help the team get the win.” He continued to say “I think it is very important to get the first run in the game. Anytime you can get that first run off of a difficult pitcher it is a plus.”
The Rays added to their lead as Reid Brignac in the top of the second inning hit a two-run homerun (3) to right field to make the score 3-0. The Yankees cut into that lead in the bottom of that inning as Robinson Cano laced a double (24) to left field. Curtis Granderson and Francisco Cervelli had back-to-back walks to load the bases for Brett Gardner who placed a single to center field and made the score 3-2. Rays starter Jeff Niemann kept it that way by getting Derek Jeter to strike out and Nick Swisher to ground out to end the inning.
Tampa would add to the lead in the top of the third as Evan Longoria was hit by one of Burnett’s pitches, a wild pitch moved Longoria to second for Pena who grounded a single to center field which plated Longoria and gave the Rays the 4-2 lead. And that was when manager Joe Girardi made the call for reliever Dustin Moseley who held back the offense for the Rays for the rest of that inning.
In the top of the fifth inning the Rays really starter to run away with the game, as things started badly for the Yankee fans with a Matt Joyce walk. John Jaso hit a single to right field to set up runners on first and third for B.J. Upton who lifted a sacrifice fly to right field which made the score 5-2 Rays. Jason Bartlett hit a single to right field to continue the inning for Reid Brignac who hit his second home run (4) to right field to give the Rays the 8-2 lead.
For Brignac he was able to establish a career highs with his two home runs today along with the five runs batted in. He became the fourth Ray with a multi-home run game this season.
“It was a good day, I was fortunate enough to get us some hits and score us some runs” Brignac said after the game. “I am happy about the win it was a big game for our team, Niemann pitched a great game for us today and kept us in the game, and we were able to get a big win.”
Mark Teixeira tried to get the offense going in the bottom of the fifth inning by hitting a home run (18) to right field and made the score 8-3 Rays. Unfortunately for the 48,957 in attendance the Yanks could not drive in any more runs.
Evan Longoria laced a double (29) down the left field line in the top of the sixth inning, the All-Star third baseman eventually came in to score the ninth Ray run on a John Jaso sacrifice fly to left field. Jorge Posada answered with a run of his own with a home run (11) to right field in the bottom of the inning and made the score 9-4 Rays.
The Rays scored the last run they would need in the top of the eighth inning as Carlos Pena hit a solo home run (19) to right field, for the 10-4 lead. In the bottom of the ninth the Yankees would try for one last comeback effort as Nick Swisher started the inning with a walk. Swisher sped to second and was awarded the bag on defensive indifference to set the stage for Alex Rodriguez. Rodriguez would rip a ground-rule double (21) to right-center field to make the score 10-5. The Yankees though could not muster any more comeback magic as back-to-back groundouts gave the Rays the win.
These two teams will meet in the final game of the three-game set on Sunday as lefty Andy Pettitte (11-2, 2.70) looks to continue his fine season against young gun David Price (12-4, 2.42 ERA) first pitch is set for 1:05 p.m.
This story originally posted on www.latinosports.com