Rays Take Rubber Match From Yankees With Big Flies

posted by Steve Carney - 

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ST. PETERSBURG (620 WDAE) -- The Tampa Bay Rays used a pair of sixth-inning home runs from Kevin Kiermaier and C.J. Cron to take Wednesday afternoon's rubber match from the New York Yankees 3-1 at Tropicana Field.

Tampa Bay needed six pitchers to get through the matinee after learning less than two hours before first pitch that scheduled starter Nathan Eovaldi had been traded to Boston, beginning with right-hander Ryne Stanek, who tossed a scoreless first.

New York scratched a run across against jaime Schultz in the second, as he walked Gleyber Torres to begin the inning.  Greg Bird's bunt single moved Torres up to second, and a pair of fly ball outs by Miguel Andujar and Neil Walker brought around the Yankees second baseman for a 1-0 lead.

Luis Cessa allowed just two hits the first two times through the first five innings, but Adam Moore singled to begin the sixth, and Kiermaier gave Tampa Bay the lead for good with a two-run homer to right, his third of the year.

Cron followed up later in the inning with his 20th home run of the season, a solo blast off reliever Jonathan Holder.

The Yankees used another leadoff walk to get back to within a run, as Jose Alavardo's free pass to Brett Gardner allowed him to score on a sacrifice fly by Giancarlo Stanton to make it 3-2, but Sergio Romo struck out Torres to end the inning and keep the lead at one run.

In the ninth, Romo came out to begin the inning playing third base, with Jonny Venters coming on to face Greg Bird.  After Bird grounded out to begin the inning, the right-hander went back to the mound, allowing a bunt single by Miguel Andujar, and a fielder's choice by Aaron Hicks with both runners safe on a missed catch error by Matt Duffy.  Pinch-hitter Austin Romine popped out, and Romo struck out Gardner to end the game and register his 12th save.

The Rays have won five their last six game against New York, and improve back to two games over .500 at 52-50 on the season.

THURSDAY'S MATCHUP

Tampa Bay Rays (52-50) at Baltimore Orioles (29-73), 7:05 p.m. first pitch, with coverage on WDAE beginning at 6:00 with The Inside Pitch presented by Crown Eurocars.

Rays starter - RHP Hunter Wood (0-0, 2.93 ERA)

Orioles starter - TBA

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