What started out as a pitchers duel ended with a big swing of a bat, as Jose Bautista's walk-off grand slam broke a 1-1 tie, giving the New York Mets a 5-1 win in Friday's opener of a three-game interleague series at Citi Field
Opener Ryne Stanek allowed a hit and a walk in his two innings of work before turning things over to left-hander Ryan Yarbrough, who allowed New York to take the lead in the third. Willy Adames allowed Brandon Nimmo to reach on an errant throw, and after a walk to Bautista, former Ray Asdrubal Cabrera singled in Nimmo for a 1-0 advantage.
The Rays were able to draw even in the fifth, as Adames took a 97 MPH fastball up in the zone and sent it to the deepest part of the ballpark for his third home run of the year.
The chess match was on at that point, as both sides continued to put up zeroes. New York tried to break the tie in the sixth, as Todd Frazier doubled off Diego Castillo with one out, but Wilmer Flores was gunned down at the plate trying to score from first base to keep the game tied.
Meanwhile, Tampa Bay had to outlast Jacob DeGrom before getting a chance to go ahead themselves, loading the bases with one out against Jeurys Familia on a walk to Wilson Ramos, a base hit by Joey Wendle and Daniel Robertson being hit by a pitch. However, a fielder's choice ground out by Mallex Smith erased pinch-runner Hunter Wood at the plate, and Adames struck out to strand the bases loaded.
New York got to work in the bottom of the inning off Chaz Roe, who walked Todd Frazier and gave up a single to Devin Mesoraco. Amed Rosario sacrificed both runners up a base and pinch-hitter Dominic Smith grounded back to Roe to keep the runners in scoring position. Manager Kevin Cash decided to intentionally walk Nimmo to load the bases for Bautista, who got a first-pitch fastball and sent it into the second deck in left to end the game.
Tampa Bay Rays (43-44) at New York Mets (35-49), 4:10 p.m. first pitch, with coverage on WDAE beginning at 3:00 with The Inside Pitch presented by Crown Eurocars.
Rays starter - LHP Blake Snell (11-4, 2.24 ERA)
Mets starter - RHP Steven Matz (4-5, 3.46 ERA)
Sunday - Rays at New York Mets, 1:10 p.m. first pitch
Monday - Rays vs. Detroit Tigers, 7:10 p.m. first pitch
Tuesday - Rays vs. Detroit Tigers, 7:10 p.m. first pitch
Wednesday - Rays vs. Detroit Tigers, 12:10 p.m. first pitch