The Tampa Bay Rays (43-38) stole five bases en route to their second-straight victory against the New York Yankees (48-32). It was the first time the Rays have won consecutive games since sweeping a double-header against the Philadelphia Phillies on June 24.
The Yankees took an early lead, as Derek Jeter and Curtis Granderson led off the game with back-to-back doubles off of James Shields. Robinson Cano, the American League Home Run Derby captain, then singled home Granderson with one out to make it 2-0, but Shields got out of the inning when Cano thought there were two outs in the inning and got doubled up off first base on Nick Swisher’s fly out to B.J. Upton.
Ivan Nova hit Desmond Jennings with a pitch to start off the bottom of the first inning. Jennings then stole second base, but Nova retired the next three batters to escape the inning with the 2-0 lead in tact. After both Shields and Nova had perfect second innings, the Yankees added to their lead in the third inning when Dewayne Wise led off the inning with a homer.
The Rays then tied the game in the bottom of the third inning, when they had a two-out three-run rally. Upton picked up an RBI single, and then Keppinger capped off the rally with a two-run single of his own.
The Yankees came right back with a two-out rally of their own in the fourth to take a 4-3 lead, as Raul Ibanez singled with two outs and nobody on and Eric Chavez doubled him home. However, the Rays again immediately responded in their half of the inning, taking their first lead of the game on a two-run homer by Sean Rodriguez.
Shields and Nova each settled down after that, with neither team scoring in the fifth or sixth innings. After Shields pitched around a two-out single by Jeter in the top of the seventh, Nova gave up a double to Jennings to lead off the bottom half of the inning. Joe Girardi then called on his bullpen, bringing in Clay Rapada to strike out Carlos Pena and then sending in Chad Qualls. Upton greeted Qualls with a bloop single, moving Jennings over to third with one out. The Rays then took advantage of their speed and pulled off a double steal, with Upton stealing second base and Jennings swiping home, making it a 6-4 game. Upton took third on Russell Martin’s throwing error, and later scored on Ben Zobrist’s RBI single, giving the Rays a 7-4 lead.
The Rays then went to their bullpen with a three-run cushion, and Burke Badenhop, Joel Peralta and All Star Fernando Rodney combined to face six Yankee hitters, retiring all of them. Shields (8-5) was the winning pitcher, Nova (9-3) took the loss, and Rodney notched his 24th save.
Tomorrow the Rays will go for their first sweep since beating the Marlins in Miami on June 8, 9 and 10. The game starts at 3:10 PM ET, and the Rays will send out All Star David Price (11-4, 2.92 ERA) to face David Phelps (1-3, 3.16 ERA).
About the Author
Written by Will Creager
I'm currently a senior at Eckerd College in Saint Petersburg, FL, studying math and sports journalism. Sports are my passion, especially baseball.