The three-game losing streak is mercifully over. The Yankees rebounded from last night’s tough extra innings loss with a come from behind 9-3 win over the Rays on Saturday afternoon. They were down three-zip after four innings. Let’s recap the win:
- Second Time Around: Coming into the game, opposing hitters had a 38 OPS+ the first time through the lineup against Jake Odorizzi and a ~219 OPS+ thereafter. For serious. That held true on Saturday, as the Yankees went 0-for-9 the first time through and 5-for-8 with three doubles, two walks, and a homer against him thereafter. The homer was a two-run shot by Mark Teixeira, his fourth in the last five games. He seems to be #cured. Jacoby Ellsbury doubled in the game-tying run in the fifth and another run would have scored had it not hopped over the fence. Bad luck, but the bottom line is the Yankees still had second and third with no outs after that and failed to score.
- TANAK Out: This was Masahiro Tanaka’s worst start. Seems obvious, no? He gave up a ton of hard-hit balls and the damage would have been much worst if not for a few balls hit right at defenders. Both Desmond Jennings and Wil Myers hit solo bombs — Tanaka is tied with a bunch of other guys with seven homers allowed, second most in MLB (David Price has allowed eight) — and he needed more than 40 pitches to get through the first two innings. Tanaka settled down and finished the afternoon with three runs allowed on eight hits in seven innings, striking out only five. No walks, of course. Not bad for his worst start of the year. Gave the bullpen a much-needed the rest too.
- Late Runs: Despite the obvious risk, Kelly Johnson came out of witness protection to hit a go-ahead solo homer off Josh Lueke to lead off the sixth inning. The Yankees tacked on two insurance runs in the seventh thanks to a Teixeira single and an Alfonso Soriano sacrifice fly. It was only their seventh sac fly of the season, the fourth fewest in the league. They’ve really struggled to get guys in from third with less than two outs, but Soriano got the job done this time. Ichiro Suzuki doubled (one) and Brett Gardner singled (two) in three more runs in the eighth. The Yankees scored in each of the last five innings.
- Leftovers: Dellin Betances (one double, two strikeouts) and Preston Claiborne (one strikeout) closed out the game … Tanaka was almost hit by two comebackers, one in the leg and one in the head before getting his glove in the way at the last second … Joe Maddon spent an awful lot of time complaining this game, about pretty much everything. Balls and strikes, check swings, all of it … the Yankees had 12 hits with Ellsbury’s three leading the way. Teixeira is up to .269/.406/.577 (169 wRC+), by the way. That’ll do just fine.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs some other stats, and ESPN the updated standings. The Yankees will look to win this three-game series on Sunday afternoon before heading out to the West Coast. Lefties CC Sabathia and Erik Bedard will be the pitching matchup. Head over to RAB Tickets if you want to catch the final home game until the week after next.