Yankees vs. Rays score: Bronx Bombers pushed to brink in ALDS as Tampa’s breakout star strikes again

Yankees vs. Rays score: Bronx Bombers pushed to brink in ALDS as Tampa's breakout star strikes again


The top-seeded Rays beat the Yankees for the second straight day Wednesday night, 8-4, to take a 2-1 advantage in the best-of-five ALDS. This pushes the Yankees to the brink of elimination while the Rays are looking to clinch their first ALCS trip since 2008. That season yielded the only pennant in Rays’ franchise history and was also their only trip to the league championship series. 

For now, we’ll focus on what we saw in Game 3. 

Morton steps up

Heading into Game 3, the Yankees had played four playoff games so far in 2020. They had scored 36 runs on 43 hits, which included 13 home runs. Not only were those totals amassed in just four games, but they came against teams starting stud pitchers: Shane Bieber, Carlos Carrasco, Blake Snell and Tyler Glasnow. Pretty ridiculous, right? It was a tall order for Rays’ starter Charlie Morton heading into Game 3. 

Though Morton had to navigate some rough waters, he got through five innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on four hits while striking out six. The biggest out came in the bottom of the third, when he got Luke Voit to harmlessly groundout to strand the bases loaded (scroll down for discussion on the two calls before Voit’s grounder). 

Arozarena is absolutely on fire

Quick: Had you ever heard of Randy Arozarena before the playoffs started? How about before this series? The young Rays slugger still may not be known by casual baseball fans, but he’s doing everything he can right now to get noticed. In the first two games of the series, Arozarena went 5 for 8 with a pair of homers. He started out Wednesday with two singles. In his third plate appearance? 

Good lord, man. Someone cool him off! 

That is three straight postseason games with a home run. Only 10 players have ever had a longer streak (he’s tied with 33 others who had done it three straight games; full list here). The record is six from Daniel Murphy in his unforgettable 2015. Oh, speaking of which…

Stanton knocking on history’s door

Giancarlo Stanton hit a home run in the eighth inning. 

That was the fifth straight game these playoffs that he’s homered. No player had ever homered in their first five playoff games in a given year before, and Stanton is now just one game away from tying Murphy’s record. 

Rays pound Tanaka, Green

With the way things went in Game 2 on the pitching end for the Yankees, some pressure was on Masahiro Tanaka to at least match the performance of his counterpart, Morton. He did not. In four-plus innings, the Rays tagged Tanaka for five runs on eight hits, including two homers. The big blow came in the top of the fourth, after the Yankees tied the game, 1-1, and left the bases loaded. Kevin Kiemaier hit a three-run shot and the Rays never looked back. 

It wasn’t just Tanaka, of course. Next up was Chad Green, one of the Yankees’ more important relievers. The Rays got him for two runs on three hits in an inning of work. 

In all, the Rays ended up with 13 hits, five of which went for extra bases. 

Voit struggling so far in series

Luke Voit led the majors in home runs this season. He occupies the cleanup spot for one of the most powerful teams in baseball. He hits in front of Stanton while sitting behind D.J. LeMahieu, Aaron Judge and Aaron Hicks. I think we could all agree that’s a rather important spot. So far in this series, Voit has gone 1 for 11 with an astounding 10 men left on base. He’s not really cleaning anything up. 

Bottom of order shows Rays’ depth

On the flip side, the Rays got six RBI from the 8-9 spots in the order. We already mentioned the three-run shot from Kiermaier. He was in the eight-hole. Hitting ninth with his first start since Sept. 27 was backup catcher Michael Perez. The first run of the game was an RBI single from Perez. In the sixth, Perez gave the Rays some nice breathing room by hitting a two-run homer.

Pivotal calls

Some calls from home plate umpire Mark Carlson drew the ire of Yankees fans early in the game before the Rays pulled away. Full story here.

Below are the game-long updates from the Rays’ win.

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