Yankees’ Luis Gil wins first game in 3 years as Bombers beat Rays

Yankees Luis Gil
New York Yankees pitcher Luis Gil walks off the field during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays, Sunday, April 21, 2024, in New York. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

The Yankees went toe-to-toe with the Rays and won six of their seven so far this season with the 5-4 victory on a cloudy Sunday afternoon in the Bronx.

Luis Gil had the nod from manager Aaron Boone, going throwing two-hit baseball over 5.2 innings and only giving up one unearned run while picking up a career-high nine strikeouts while cutting down on walks to three.

“Being a little more mindful, delivery-wise,” Boone said. “It’s a really good peak on how good he is when he’s filling up the strike zone.” 

The Yankees struck first when Juan Soto and Giancarlo Stanton walked and Anthony Rizzo’s RBI single brought in Soto. 

The Rays got one back in the third, but not really because of their offense.  Jose Caballero doubled, and after Gil struck out two batters and made an erroneous throw to second, Caballero made the dash to third safely. With Richie Palacios at the plate, Gil was issued a balk on a faux throw to third, forcing in the tying run.

The Yankees had a fiery two-out four-run rally in the fifth. After Soto and Judge both grounded out to shortstop, Stanton, Rizzo and Gleyber Torres all walked to clog the bases full. 

Yankees' Alex Verdugo
New York Yankees’ Alex Verdugo reacts after hitting a two run-scoring single against the Tampa Bay Rays during the fifth inning of a baseball game Sunday, April 21, 2024, in New York. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)

Alex Verdugo dropped in the first of three hits in succession to score Stanton and Rizzo, followed by Trevino’s knock to bring Torres, and rounded out with Cabrera’s single to plate Verdugo. This turned over the lineup to the top to Anthony Volpe, where he struck out swinging for the final out of the inning.

The Rays threatened in the eighth however, with when Palacios singled and Paredes walked, giving Amed Rosario the perfect set-up for a bases-clearing double. Curtis Mead made it a one-run game with his RBI single to bring home Rosario.

After that, it was just a matter of keeping a white-knuckle grip on the lead for three more outs to come away with the win.

Reliever Victor Gonzalez got those three outs in the ninth, first by getting Caballero looking, and then by getting Yandy Diaz to ground out. After a nine-pitch fight with Randy Arozarena, he came out victorious via walk. Unfazed, Gonzalez kept his head in the game, going after Palacios, alternating between his changeup and sinker until he lined it back to Gonzalez. With his glove, Gonzalez swatted it toward first base, ran toward the ball and mid-dive, tossed it up toward Rizzo and slammed his glove down in triumph to record the final out.

The top three hitters of the lineup, Volpe, Soto and Judge went a combined 1-13 with one walk in the afternoon; Verdugo shone offensively, going 3-4 with a run.

The Yankees welcome the Oakland Athletics for a four-game series starting Monday, April 22.