The New York Yankees find themselves in quite a hole after losing 8-4 to the Tampa Bay Rays in Game 3 of the ALDS on Wednesday night, now trailing 2-1 in the best-of-five series.
Coming off bullpen miscues that defined Game 2, the quick turnaround was no kinder to the Yankees pitching staff as starter Masahiro Tanaka’s struggles put Tampa io the driver’s seat.
Trailing from the start in San Diego, the Yankees were unable to catch up to the Rays’ red-hot offense which has now bested the Bombers twice in the playoffs and eight times during the regular season.
The Rays got out to an early when catcher Michael Perez shot an RBI single just above second baseman DJ LeMahieu’s reach early on in the second inning.
Rays starter Charlie Morton kept the first seven Yankee batters hitless, but loaded the bases for outfielder Aaron Judge, who tied the game with a sac-fly to right field in the third.
After Morton re-loaded the bases that same inning, first baseman Luke Voit grounded out to end the inning after two highly-questionable strike calls from home plate umpire and crew chief Mark Carlson that would have walked in a run.
Charlie Morton getting two HUGE borderline calls pic.twitter.com/8MjfVYtaVr
— Pitcher List (@PitcherList) October 8, 2020
Salt in the open wound for Yankees fans, designated hitter Giancarlo Stanton was on deck; though by the end of things, it had little impact on the game as a whole.
The next inning while Rays third baseman Joey Wendle on first, Carlson called a full count, controversial ball four on shortstop Willy Adames as Wendle was gunned down stealing second base.
So what could have been a double play for the Yankees instead became runners on first and second.
The batter, outfielder Kevin Kiermaier launched a three-run homer which was followed by another solo home run from outfielder Randy Arozarena in the fifth, putting Tampa ahead 5-1 and also ending Tanaka’s night for reliever Chad Green to take over.
He finished with eight hits, four strikeouts, and the five earned runs through four even innings pitched.
Outfielder Aaron Hicks was able to cut into the deficit after shooting an RBI double into right field in the fifth inning, making it a 5-2 ballgame.
It mattered little as Perez sent a two-run homer flying in the sixth against Green, putting Tampa up 7-2.
Luis Cessa came in to pitch afterwards and surrendered an RBI single to Ji-Man Choi which put the Rays up 8-2 through six.
Stanton cut the lead to 8-4 with a two-run homer in the eighth and is now the only Yankee to homer in five straight playoff games. Though, that was it for a comeback as the Rays put down the remaining Yankees in the eighth and ninth to seal the Tampa 8-4 win.
Yankees Jordan Montgomery is expected to start elimination game four at 7 p.m. on Thursday night.