With the game tied 5-5 in the ninth, Mariano Rivera allowed four runs (three earned) to the Rays (29-28), and the Yankees (32-23) went on to lose 9-7.
Alex Rodriguez scored the first two runs off David Price – one of the brightest young pitchers in the majors. A-Rod cranked a solo homer to right-center in the second, and then came around to score on Robinson Cano’s grounder. The Rays tied the game up in the fifth, and then moved ahead 5-3 on Willy Aybar’s three-run homer off CC Sabathia.
The Yanks tied the game back up in the eighth – attempting to notch another come-from-behind win. Mark Teixeira led off with his 18th homer of the season. Then later in the inning, Melky Cabrera beat out a double play ball at first, scoring Jorge Posada from third.
Joe Girardi opted to go with Rivera in the ninth, as Sabathia had reached 101 pitches (9 shy of his season average). Rivera allowed a triple and a single to start off the inning, but the Rays weren’t done yet. After intentionally walking Evan Longoria, B.J. Upton drove in another run. Girardi had seen enough and sent out Phil Coke to record one more out. He got the out, but only after allowing two more runs (one earned). The Yanks got two back in the ninth on Teixeira’s double, but that wasn’t enough. Full box score.
Perhaps the only weakness to Rivera is pitching in a tie game. He handles a slim lead with no problem, but he is a different pitcher when the game’s tied. Although, I think Girardi should have kept Sabathia in the game. He’s a workhorse, that’s why he’s worth $161 million.
A-Rod played eight good innings, but choked in the ninth. He misplayed a grounder in the ninth letting the Rays score one more, and then failed to score (or at least move over) Teixeira from second. But A-Rod was not the only one who choked. There were many other chances to score when other Yankees did not come through. These Yanks were not the same ones who had won 17 of their previous 22 games.
- Teixeira is tied for the league lead in homers and is fourth in RBI (50).
- Sabathia was hit a little today (five runs, four earned), but he still lasted eight innings. I believe his stamina is what makes him one of the most prized pitchers in the majors.
The Yanks look to even the series Sunday afternoon with Joba Chamberlain (3-1, 3.71) on the mound. The Rays counter with Matt Garza (4-4, 3.67).