Yarbrough complete in victory over Yankees

by Gary Shelton on June 4, 2021

in general

Yarbrough went the distance against New York./STEVEN MUNCIE

Friday, 3 a.m.

Coming into the game, you knew this was going to happen. It was in the air.

A pitcher was going to dominate and make hitters walk away embarrassed. He was going to keep the opposing offense off-balance. Behind him, his team was going to roll to an easy victory.

Of course, you probably thought all of that was going to happen for Gerrit Cole.

Instead, it happened for Ryan Yarbrough, of all people.

Yeah, him.

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Yarbrough, who hadn't won a game in which he started since 2019, instead flummoxed the New York Yankees, throwing the first complete game in five seasons for his franchise. He allowed just six hits and struck out six. It was the first time in 731 games that the Rays have not gone to their bullpen.

Yarbrough's 24-start winless streak as a starter is tied for the eighth-longest for a traditional starter (non-openers) since data was compiled in 1901.

How long had it been since Matt Andriese last threw a complete game? Kevin Cash was in his second year as a manager of the Rays. There have been 16 major league no-hitters since then.

"We’re all so pumped for Yarbs," said Rays' manager Kevin Cash. "That was big. It got to the wire how many pitches he had going. It was just an outstanding performance against a guy who is very talented on their side in Cole. Yarbs continued to make pitch after pitch and be efficient. I'm sure he was probably sucking a little wind there in the eighth and ninth innings, but I hope it’s something he wanted. We really appreciated him being able to complete it."

Cash admitted there were a couple of moments when he considered pulling Yarbrough, but didn't. The fourth inning, however, was crucial.

In that inning, the Yankees put runners on second and third with no one out on a single by Aaron Judge and a double by Gio Urshela. But Yarbrough got Rougned Odor out on a foul fly out, then struck out Clint Frazier and Miguel Andujar.

"That was the ballgame," Cash said. "(Austin) Meadows homer was  huge and the separator double with the bases loaded, but I felt like that sequence with Frazier and Andujar -- to get those guys and Odor to fly out and no one score after the Urshela double was the ballgame."

The Rays' offense had scuffled for the first three games of the series, but it broke out big against Cole, regarded as one of the top pitchers in the game. It scored five runs against Cole in five innings.

Meadows had five RBI to continue his hot streak. He's now hit safely in seven straight games, batting .440 with 15 RBI. He has hit safely in six straight games, batting .450 (9-for-20) with 10 RBI. In his last 18 games, he's hitting .333 with seven homers and 27 RBI.

"He’s covering a lot of  pitches right now," Cash said. "He’s covering fastballs, he’s covering off-speed. He seems very locked in, just showing what he’s capable of. All good hitters find those streaks where it seems everything thrown at them, they’re hahding. I think Austin is handling it now."

The Rays now move to Arlington to face the Texas Rangers tonight. Tampa Bay has not decided on a pitcher, but the Rangers will start Kyle Gibson. The first pitch is scheduled for 8:05 p.m.

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