The Yankees beat the Tampa Bay Rays 3-2 on Wednesday night during the last game of their three-game series at Tropicana Field. The Yankees got back in the win column after losing their last three games and five of their previous six. The three runs that the Yankees scored were as many as they had scored in their previous three games combined.
Derek Jeter was 0-28 coming into the game but his hit in the sixth inning snapped his second longest hitless streak of his career. He scored what ended up being the game-winning run on Brett Gardner’s sacrifice fly to right.
The Yankees scored their first two runs off of Rays starter Alex Cobb in the fifth inning. After being hit during Tuesday’s game, Chase Headley hit a double to deep center that scored Chris Young. Then, Brendan Ryan who usually doesn’t hit for much power, hit a ground rule double that landed near the foul pole in right to score Headley.
Brandon McCarthy had yet another dominating start for the Yankees. He pitched seven impressive innings, only allowed two runs and picked up four strikeouts. Evan Longoria was the only Ray that did damage off of McCarthy. He hit a solo homer in the first and had a RBI ground out in the sixth.
In the seventh inning, McCarthy wrapped up his start with an “immaculate inning” that included recording three strikeouts on only nine pitches. This feat is very rarely seen in baseball and was a great way to conclude his dominating performance. He has proven that the Yankees should make every effort to bring him back next season. Joe Girardi has been impressed with how McCarthy has been pitching.
“I think his sinker has been really good and I think his curve ball has been really effective,” Girardi said. “I think that he gets some strikes with it, he puts some guys away with it and it has been really effective. But I think the command of his sinker has been the most important thing.”
McCarthy, who had struggled before being traded to the Yankees but had excelled in 2011 and 2012, has now allowed two runs or less in seven of his last nine starts. He needed only 91 pitches to get through seven innings and had 12 ground ball outs and eight fly ball outs.
The other pitching highlight from this game was that Dellin Betances, the flame throwing set-up man who was born in Washington Heights, recorded his 131st strikeout of his season. In his first full major league season, he set the record for most strikeouts in a season by a Yankee reliever. Future Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera previously set the record with his 130 strikeouts in 1996. His knee buckling slurve and 99 MPH fastball has led him to a dominating 1.33 ERA.
“I got a bunch of text messages (about the record),” Betances said. “I am happy we came out on the winning side. It is pretty incredible to think about the whole year and how everything has gone. I definitely feel honored, especially to be a part of this group and part of this organization. Just to be mentioned around his name (Mariano Rivera), you are talking about the best closer & reliever in the game, just to be around the same breath as him, I take thrill in that.”
“You think about the people that he (Betances) has passed in the last few weeks, Goose Gossage and Mariano Rivera, one Hall of Famer and one who has just got to wait his turn basically, it is pretty impressive what he has done,” Girardi said. “What he went through, some of the struggles that he went through, those struggles help you. When you struggle and are able to get back up and fight through it, it helps you down the road because it is not always going to be easy in this game.”
The Yankees won Derek Jeter’s final game at Tropicana Field after David Robertson got Nick Franklin to strike out swinging to end the game. Robertson picked up his 37th save of the season, which is the third best save total in the American League.
Young, who scored the Yankees first run, should be brought back as a fourth outfielder if he is willing to take a discount. His average on the season is .219, but since his first game with the Yankees on September 2, he has hit .324 in 34 at-bats with three homers and eight RBIs.
The Yankees and Blue Jays will begin a four-game series at Yankee Stadium on Thursday night at 7:05 p.m. Rookie Shane Greene (5-3, 3.56 ERA) will get the start for the Yankees and the veteran knuckleballer R.A. Dickey will get the start for Toronto.