Gerrit Cole did his part to slow down the Rays’ dominance of the Yankees during this mini season, but it wasn’t enough to overcome very little support from the lineup and a costly error by Zack Britton.
“Whether it is the Rays right now or anyone else any time it is Gerrit’s day that is a game we certainly expect to go out and win,’’ Aaron Boone said before the Rays hung a 4-2 loss on his club Wednesday night at Yankee Stadium.
The Rays are 5-1 against the Yankees this year and moved to one-half game back of the AL East leaders.
The Yankees’ franchise record of being undefeated in 27 straight home series came to a halt. After losing the first two of three to the Rays, the best the Yankees can do is avoid being swept Thursday afternoon.
In 6 ²/₃ innings, Cole allowed two runs, six hits (homers by Ji-Man Choi and Mike Zunino), walked one and fanned 10. He threw a season-high 109 pitches.
Chaz Roe provided the Yankees with a chance in the ninth by walking Gleyber Torres and Gary Sanchez to start the inning. Brett Gardner’s fly ball to center failed to advance the runners. Miguel Andujar hit for Mike Tauchman against lefty Jalen Beeks and fanned on a 0-2 pitch. The first pitch to Thairo Estrada was a wild pitch that moved the runners up a base each, but Estrada ended the game with a strikeout.
With the score tied, 2-2, in the eighth, Yandy Diaz’s leadoff grounder was fielded by a diving Luke Voit. His toss to Britton near first base was catchable but glanced off the reliever’s glove and rolled far enough into foul territory to allow Diaz to get to second. A wild pitch moved him to third and Britton followed that with a walk to Brandon Lowe.
Britton induced Jose Martinez to hit a grounder to third baseman Gio Urshela that he easily turned into the first out at home and put runners at first and second. Right-handed hitter Mike Brosseau hit for Choi and his single to center scored Lowe with the go-ahead run and put runners at the corners for Willy Adames. His single made it a two-run game.
Cole was replaced by Britton after striking out Zunino for the second out of the seventh with Manuel Margo on first via a bunt single. Facing the lefty-swinging Austin Meadows, Britton got him to chase a third strike in the dirt.
Trailing, 2-1, going into the home sixth, Aaron Hicks smoked a liner into the right-field corner for a leadoff triple and Voit coaxed a full-count walk off Tyler Glasnow to put runners at the corners for Urshela. His fly to right was deep enough to plate Hicks and tie the score, 2-2.
After Glasnow caught Mike Ford staring at a third strike, Ryan Thompson surfaced from the bullpen to face Torres and he lined a single to center on the right-hander’s first pitch. That brought Sanchez to the plate after whiffing in the second and fourth innings. This time he tapped to Thompson for the final out.
Gardner got to third base in the seventh via a single to left, Tauchman’s soft grounder to the left side and a wild pitch by Pete Fairbanks with two outs. With the count full Hicks looked at a breaking ball to strand Gardner.