The Tampa Bay Rays turned to their strength Friday night in the series opener against the New York Yankees — shutdown pitching.
Tampa Bay’s staff, using six hurlers, hunkered down and two-hit the Yankees in a 1-0 win, becoming the first team to shut out the slugging Bronx Bombers this year. In fact, they became the first team to hold the Yankees hitless in a game.
Pinch hitter Michael Perez’s eighth-inning sacrifice fly won it for the Rays.
Winning pitcher Chaz Roe (2-0) pitched the final two scoreless innings to hand the Yankees their fifth straight loss at Tropicana Field.
“That (victory) was exactly what we needed today,” said Roe, who gave up a leadoff double in the eighth but used a big strikeout of Aaron Judge to shut down the threat. “We squeezed this one out in fashion. We need to keep this rolling.”
The teams play a doubleheader on Saturday in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Yankees ace Gerrit Cole (3-0, 2.55 ERA) will make his fourth start in Game 1, and the right-hander with the huge price tag has been well worth the investment so far.
Since last May 22, Cole has been unbeatable, posting a 19-0 mark and a 1.86 ERA in his 25 starts during the regular season. The hot streak is the sixth-longest unbeaten stretch in major league history.
While Cole has been excellent, the rest of the New York starting staff is 1-3 with a 7.22 ERA. Manager Aaron Boone said Cole’s presence and deep work in his starts yield big dividends to the club’s bullpen.
“Nothing beats several outings from your starters that give you length and really kind of sets everyone up down there in that ‘pen,” Boone said.
Cole has been merely mortal and winless against the Rays.
In four career starts, he carries an 0-2 record with a 3.51 ERA, but he has fanned 37 in 25 2/3 innings.
The Rays are just one of two teams, joining the Houston Astros, that Cole has failed to earn a win against.
Tyler Glasnow (0-0, 3.12 ERA) will start opposite Cole. The right-hander has been efficient in two short outings, allowing three runs on four hits — two of them home runs — in 8 2/3 innings. He has walked five and fanned 14.
Glasnow is 0-1 with a 3.60 ERA in two career starts against the Yankees, striking out 14 in 10 innings.
The pitching matchup is a rematch of Game 5 of last year’s American League Division Series when Cole pitched for the Astros. Cole led Houston to a 6-1 win, striking out 10 while throwing eight innings of one-run ball.
Neither team announced a starter for Game 2, which was originally slated to be played Thursday, but the Yankees faced the Philadelphia Phillies that night in a makeup game.
Tampa Bay has a hole in the No. 5 spot on its starting staff after Yonny Chirinos (triceps inflammation) was placed on the 10-day injured list Thursday.
The organization called up right-hander Trevor Richards, who is expected to work multiple innings in a bullpen game in the latter contest.
–Field Level Media