The Yankees (4-6) beat the Tampa Bay Rays, 5-4, at Tropicana Field on Friday night to end their two-game losing streak. They will now have to win one of their next two games against the Rays to win their first series of the season.
Alex Rodriguez, who has been the team’s best offensive player so far this season, was the reason that the team won this game. He drove in as many runs as the Rays scored as a team. A-Rod is now .344 with four homers, six runs scored, two doubles and 11 RBIs.
To leadoff the top of the second inning, Rodriguez hit a 471-foot solo homer to deep left center field. This homer was the longest round tripper in baseball this season. His second home run, in the sixth inning, was a line drive 400-foot blast that drove in Brian McCann. That homer in the sixth inning gives him 658 and puts him two behind tying Willie Mays for fourth on the all-time homer list. For his fourth RBI of the game, A-Rod’s single on a line drive to center scored Brett Gardner after he stole second as a pinch runner. His last multi-homer game came on May 23 of 2012.
He has performed better than anyone could have expected so far after missing all of last season due to his suspension. It was realistic to think that he could hit 15 homers this season based on his stats during spring training, but the start that he has gotten off to has proved that could surpass that total. His bat speed is back to the way it was a few years ago, he knows what pitches he can do damage with and his mechanics set him up to hit the ball with power.
After the game, Rodriguez was grateful to be playing baseball once again, said that he is enjoying playing this season and said that he didn’t know what to expect from himself.
“More than anything, I’m just feeling very grateful to be back playing baseball,” he said. “I’m very grateful to (owners) Hank and Hal [Steinbrenner] for giving me the opportunity to put the uniform on again. It’s something I don’t take for granted and it’s much appreciated. It just feels good to be playing baseball. I’m having fun out there. I don’t think anyone knew what to expect. Including myself.”
Adam Warren was not as effective as he was during first start as he threw pitches in the fourth inning that he wanted back. He pitched well in the first three innings, as he allowed three singles in the first three frames, but in the fourth inning he allowed a single, a walk, a three-run homer Allan Dykstra and then a solo blast to Logan Forsythe.
However, the bullpen was able to rebound from a shaky performance on Wednesday to pitch five innings while allowing only two hits. Esmil Rogers pitched two innings in relief of Warren while recording two strikeouts and no hits, Dellin Betances got his second win of the season after recording a strikeout and a hit in his inning pitched and Andrew Miller, the closer for now, got his third save of the season and kept his ERA at 0.00 as he collected three strikeouts (and one hit) in his 1.1 innings pitched.
The fifth run that the Yankees scored was driven in by Stephen Drew in the fourth inning, He hit a solo homer on a line drive to right center field. That homer was his 100th of his career and he joins his brother J.D. Drew on the list of brothers with 100 or more homers. Drew needs to hit more consistently, but on the positive side his last three hits have been homers.
Masahiro Tanaka will get his third start of the season on Saturday night against the Rays. In his start on April 12 against the Red Sox he allowed three runs in five innings while adding five strikeouts. He will look to improve on the results from his second start just like he did from his first start.