Diving catch ruins Rays’ chance of comeback

by Gary Shelton on May 22, 2017 · 0 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Rays

Longoria's drive to right-center was robbed by Judge./CARMEN MANDATO

Longoria's drive to right-center was robbed by Judge./CARMEN MANDATO

Monday, 4 a.m.

Sometimes, the judgment goes the wrong way.

Sometimes, the guys the fans aren't cheering for steal the game with an incredible catch.

Sometimes, the comeback goes away.

It was that way Sunday, when Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees – a spectacular player, by the way — made a diving catch in right-center field that was the difference in a 3-2 win by New York over the Tampa Bay Rays.

It was a “next on SportsCenter” kind of catch, a “This Week in Baseball” kind of catch, a highway robbery kind of catch. Evan Longoria had ripped the ball toward the 370 marker, and Judge was running hard, and

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Judge used every inch of his body to rob Longoria/CARMEN MANDATO

Judge used every inch of his body to rob Longoria/CARMEN MANDATO

at the last minute, he left his feet, stretched his 6-7 frame out and made a terrific catch. Corey Dickerson was on first, and he took off when the ball was hit. He would have scored, and Longoria would have ended up on second, maybe third. It would have been a tie game, and a fresh start. As it was, the Yankees easily doubled Dickerson off first, and the Rays never again threatened.

Instead, that play seemed to drain the life from the Rays. There were 3 1/3 innings left after that double play, but the Rays never got another hit. They went down rather feebly, and once again, they fell to .500 at 23-23. The Rays struck out five times in their final 10 outs.

Archer gave up a home run, but he had a strong outing./CARMEN MANDATO

Archer gave up a home run, but he had a strong outing./CARMEN MANDATO

“At first, I looked to see where he was playing,” Longoria said. “Initially, I thought he may have a chance, but when I looked at where the ball was going and where he was heading, I thought it was going to fall. It seemed like the last 10 or 15 feet he covered a ton of ground. You have to tip your hat to a great player.

“If it drops, even if Dickey (Dickerson) doesn't do what he did — which I think was the right play anyway, you got to try to score there. Where he was, it didn't look like he was going to catch it. If he scores, and I'm on second, it's a completely different game. It was impressive. We'll see that on SportsCenter for a while.

“I went in and watched a replay a couple of innings later. He used every bit of his height to stretch out and make that catch.”

Norris has hit .304 since April 26./CARMEN MANDATO

Norris has hit .304 since April 26./CARMEN MANDATO

If you watch enough Rays' games, you get used to the Tampa Bay outfielders making great catches. This time, it was the opponent. Most analysts talk about Judge's hitting ability (he's at .321) but this time, it was his glove.

“I just took a couple of steps and I got there,” Judge said. “I just read it good off the bat, tried my best to get there. It came in and out of the lights and the roof, but I kept my eye on it the whole time.”

“Incredible play,” said Yankees' manager Joe Girardi.

Said Rays' manager Kevin Cash: “The biggest thing to talk about is Judge's catch. He made a tremendous game-saving play. It was a highlight reel catch. I thought it was a double. If it ricochets far enough away, Dickerson scores and Longo might be on third.”

The Rays simply couldn't muster enough offense against the

Kiermaier rounds third, but he didn't score./CARMEN MANDATO

Kiermaier rounds third, but he didn't score./CARMEN MANDATO

Yankees' C.C. Sabathia. Tampa Bay had been scoring in bunches, with 41 runs in their previous 44 innings. But the Yankees held them to only four hits and two runs — one a homer by Derek Norris.

Dickerson did manage two hits, bringing his multi-hit total to 21, which leads the majors. It was his fifth straight multi-hit game, his ninth in his last 13 games.

Norris is hitting .304 since April 26.

The Rays now are home against the Angels. Jake Odorizzi pitches for Tampa Bay against J.C. Ramirez.

Corey Dickerson had another multi-hit game./CARMEN MANDATO

Corey Dickerson managed another multi-hit game./CARMEN MANDATO

 

 

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