SAN DIEGO – Aaron Boone’s mistake, arguably the biggest of his career, could end up costing the Yankees a shot at the World Series.
To be clear, many more must go wrong following the Yankees’ 7-5 loss to the Rays in Game 2 of the American League Division Series at Petco Park. They’re not over yet, not with the best of five sets tied at 1 and a chance for redemption coming immediately.
Of course, the Yankees have the bats and a very capable starter Wednesday in veteran Masahiro Tanaka against solid Charlie Morton. It’s just, they were planning to outsmart the Rays when they planned to let stud rookie Deivi Garcia pitch an inning before handing the ball over to JA Happ for a series of left-handed confrontations.
Instead, it exploded in Boone’s face and the Yankees spent the whole night trying to catch up.
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Garcia worked through the first run and retired from a race. And after a day of pretending the club were counting on Garcia to give length, Boone pulled the old switch off, bringing Happ.
By the time Happ was done, a 1-1 tie had turned into a 5-1 Rays lead, and nine of the 17 batters he faced had reached base.
Meanwhile, Rays starting pitcher Tyler Glasnow was better than ace Blake Snell the day before, knocking out 10 in five innings. Glasnow gave up four runs and the Tampa Bay reliever box combined for four one-set innings. Nick Anderson’s seventh and eighth scoreless innings were crucial.
Even Giancarlo Stanton’s two explosions couldn’t save the Yankees. Stanton had five homers in four playoff games and it was his first multi-homer game since September.
It didn’t help that the Yankees struck out a whopping 18 times – the biggest ever in a nine innings game.
They had kicked and their best hitter, DJ LeMahieu, had one in six strokes. Aaron Judge and Luke Voit have each been struck off three times. The Yankees had entered the night after scoring 31 points in their first three playoff games – the most in MLB history during that span.
The Yankees had a big beef with CB Bucknor, straddling him the entire game for strike calls to the point where he nearly boiled in the ninth on a high strike against Gleyber Torres, who would step onto the next pitch to put the runners first. and second. no outs against Pete Fairbanks. After Clint Frazier and Gary Sanchez each came out, DJ LeMahieu made a run in a run, and Judge found himself on third base to end it.
Front hitter Happ faced Joey Wendle in singles, then two outs later 9th hitter Mike Zunino smashed a two-run shot to put the Rays forward, 3-1. In the third set, a one-off march to Ji-Man Choi preceded Manuel Margot’s two-run homer on the center wall of the field. As he stepped through the fence, center fielder Aaron Hicks’ head fell and his hands went to his knees. It makes 5-1 rays.
But Stanton’s second bomb came just in time. After a single Aaron Hicks in the middle and a walk with Voit, Stanton crushed a 458-footer in left center field. He landed just above the last row of seats in the second deck and he cut the Yankees deficit to 5-4.
Bringing in Adam Ottavino and Jonathan Loaisiga didn’t help either. Although Ottavino took the Yankees out of a two-man jam and two strikeouts in the fourth, he walked Wendle, and then Kevin Kiermaier led him with a single in the guts on the first field launched by Loaisiga. Loaisiga also reportedly spit out a solo shot against Austin Meadows, who was injured for the Wild Card, for a 7-4 Rays advantage.
In the seventh, the Yankees were choked with two men and no outs, reliever Diego Castillo stopping them.
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