Almonte, Yankees cruise past Rays
By Roger Mooney | Tribune Staff
Published: June 21, 2013
Published: June 21, 2013
The New York Yankees loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of that inning, hit two balls on the ground and scored the two runs that tilted the game in their favor.
"Don't try to figure it out," Rays first baseman James Loney said. "It happens sometimes."
The Yankees won 6-2 at Yankee Stadium in a game where neither team really distinguished itself in the big moment.
"We weren't awful (Friday)," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "(Yankee pitcher David Phelps) pitched out of some tough spots. He's good. And a little bit of bad baseball luck on our side. Anytime Roberto (Hernandez) puts the ball on the ground it's a good thing, but it didn't work out."
The Yankees won for only the third time in their last 10 games and stopped the Rays' modest winning streak at two.
The Rays had nine hits - another one from rookie Wil Myers, who extended his hitting streak to four games - but went 2-for-7 with runners in scoring position and left nine runners on base. The swarming offense that produced 14 runs in their previous two games couldn't get it done against Phelps and the Yankees bullpen.
"We attempted to swarm and the Raid was out," Maddon said. "They swatted us back. We couldn't get it going."
The game turned in that fourth inning when the Yankees hit nothing but ground balls, including three that didn't leave the infield, but scored twice to take a 4-2 lead.
The teams were trading runs when the Rays scored with one out that inning to tie the score at 2 on an RBI single by Luke Scott. Jose Molina singled and Yunel Escobar walked and the Rays had the bases loaded and one out against Phelps.
But Phelps escaped the jam by getting Matt Joyce to fly out to shallow left field and Desmond Jennings to fly out to center field.
"(Phelps has) been tough on us, really tough on lefties in general, but Matty popped up and Desmond hit that ball kind of OK, but that was the difference in the game," Maddon said.
Said Joyce, "It's frustrating for me because I feel like that's something I take a lot of pride in, and I look forward to those situations and really relish those situations, and its frustrating to not come through."
It was the Yankees' turn to load the bases in the bottom of the inning, and they did a better job of capitalizing on the situation, thought Hernandez was able to prevent the game from getting out of hand.
First he got Jayson Nix to ground into a double play. Travis Hafner scored on the play, but Hernandez will gladly trade a run for two outs in that moment.
He got another ground ball, this one a slow roller by David Adams to third base that Evan Longoria picked up with his bare hand and threw to first.
It's a tough play that Longoria usually makes look easy, but his throw sailed to the inside of the first base bag, between Loney and the runner, and Loney couldn't make the catch.
It was ruled a hit, and Lyle Overbay scored from third with the second run of the inning.
"Some bad luck," Hernandez said. "I make good pitches. I'm trying to get a double play. The other ground ball scores a run. I can't control that. I can control the pitch."
Hernandez faced six batters that inning and all six hit the ball on the ground.
"Those were solid ground balls," Maddon said. "The damage was inflicted by groundballs, and there was not a whole lot he could do about that. ... We normally catch those. We really take a lot of pride in catching grounded balls, and they were just placed perfectly. We couldn't do anything about them."