The New York Yankees had a 2-run lead entering the top of the 6th inning against the Tampa Bay Rays following a 2-out 2-run single my Zolio Almonte in the 3rd inning and a bases loaded walk to score a run in the fifth. It looked like CC Sabathia would lead the Yankees to a 2nd straight win since he had been lights out through 5 innings.
Then in the top of the 6th inning, Sam Fuld walked, Desmond Jennings doubled, and the Rays were set up with 2nd and 3rd with nobody out. CC battled back striking out Sean Rodriguez, and got Ben Zobrist to pop out to first. Up next was Evan Longoria who had taken Sabathia deep in the 2nd, and the Yankees intentionally walked him.
After Longoria came the highly touted Rays prospect Will Myers with the bases loaded. Sabathia had Myers exactly where he wanted him down 1-2 in the count. But Sabathia left a fastball right down the middle and Myers hit a drive to right center that was just barely out of the reach of Brett Gardner for a grand slam. Gardner may have helped the ball go over the wall with it deflecting off his glove gaining some forward momentum.
Just like that, the Rays had a 5-3 lead and the Yankees who were so close to getting out of a major jam, got sucker punched.
With the way the Yankees offense had been performing, there was a lot of doubt the Yankees would be able to come back. Come back they did. A Robinson Cano walk, Overbay double, Almonte walk, and David Adams walk with 2-outs and the bases loaded made the score 5-4. Adams previously had zero walks on the season, and had 2 in this game.
With Chris Stewart on deck, Joe Girardi decided to pinch-hit Vernon Wells who was hitting .102 (6/59) in the month of June with 4 RBIs, and .077 (1/13) in the past week. Wells, like Myers fell behind 1-2 in the count before drilling a 3-run double off Jake McGee to give the Yankees a 7-5 lead. The ball was touched by a fan so technically 2 runs should have scored, but the umpires determined that if the fan didn’t touch the ball, 3 runs would have scored giving the Yankees a much needed break.
Sabathia, David Robertson, and Mariano Rivera shut out Tampa in the 7th, 8th, and 9th locking up a huge come back win. The Yankees improved to 24-0 when leading after 6 innings.
The 2013 Yankees major problem was being too aggressive at the plate and not working the count. The Yankees were 23rd in the Majors with a .302 On-Base percentage. That’s very un-Yankee like. In today’s game, New York walked 9 times and scored twice on bases loaded walks.
Vernon Wells may be hitting .102 in June, but the most important stat is he is 1 for his last 1. His 2-out 3-run double is hopefully the hit that gets Wells back on the right track. Joe Girardi should be in no rush to take Zolio Almonte out of the lineup. Almonte has been on fire going 5/7 with a home run and 4 RBIs since replacing Thomas Neal on the roster.
The Yankees can now look forward to the 67th annual Old Timers Day game as well as having the chance to take 3/4 from the Rays. Ivan Nova returns to the rotation making his first start since April 26th and his first appearance since May 29th. Nova will square off against Chris Archer who’s 1-3 with a 5.03 ERA this season.
**Derek Jeter took batting practice and fielded ground balls at Yankee Stadium prior to the game almost teasing the fans. He’s still about a month away from returning to the team.