The Yankees’ misfortune started in the second inning when, after allowing a lead off double to B.J. Upton, C.C. Sabathia retired the next two batters and seemed poised to get out of the inning unscathed, only to allow a single to backup catcher Jose Lobaton to bring hom Upton and get the Rays on the board. The Yankees then put the first two runners on in the bottom of the inning, but Jayson Nix was unable to get a bunt down, falling into an 0-2 hole, and it looked like David Price might be set up for his own Houdini act. However, a wild pitch from Price allowed Nick Swisher to move to third base with one out, and then Chris Stewart managed to accidentally bring Swisher home on an attempted check swing to tie the game.
Things began to go downhill for good in the third, however. After Drew Sutton struck out to start things off, Elliot Johnson was able to reach base on a throwing error by Alex Rodriguez. The Rays would go on to pick up a single, a double, and a sacrifice fly to add two runs to their ledger in the inning. Things went much the same way in the fourth as, following a couple of one out singles, Sutton hit a ball into the leftfield corner that Nix was unable to field cleanly, allowing two more tuns to score to push the Rays’ lead to 5-1.
For most of the night, David Price was dealing, but he finally ran into trouble in the fifth inning. Stewart picked up a lead off single and Derek Jeter and Mark Teixeira drew walks around a Curtis Granderson strikeout to load the bases and bring the tying run to the plate. A-Rod then worked an 11 pitch at bat, but finally struck out swinging at a 3-2 strikeout for the second out. The Yankees still had one more chance to score with Robinson Cano at the plate, but Cano grounded out to second to end the threat and the inning. It would also be the end of the night for Price, but the Rays’ bullpen was mostly solid on this night, and the Yankees wouldn’t really threaten again until the eighth inning, when they scored a run via a Raul Ibanez single to bring the score to 5-2. The Rays picked up two more runs in the ninth and Russell Martin hit an opposite field home run for the Yankees, but that was all superfluous to the ultimate outcome.
For his part, C.C. Sabathia gave the Yankees another outing of at least seven innings from the starter, the sixth consecutive game in which they’ve been able to say that, and racked up an impressive 12 strikeouts to just one walk. He did allow five runs, but only three of them were earned, and you can mae a case that someone should have been charged for an error on the fifth run, as Nix bobbled the transfer in left and Jeter botched the relay play, allowing Joyce to score from first on a surprisingly close throw to the plate. The Yankees’ offense, on the other hand, struck out 13 times in the game, four of which were recorded by Curtis Granderson alone. A-Rod and Nix also struck out multiple times (twice each).
Oh well, this is what they invented the phrase “you can’t win ‘em all” for. The Yankees still took the series, and have now won four of their last five series, and 10 of their last 14 overall. That’s a pretty good run to take into interleague play, though the guy they’re facing tomorrow has some nice momentum of his own going.