Rays beaten 1-0 by Yankees in finale

by Gary Shelton on October 4, 2021

in general

Cash has to ready his team for a second season./TIM WIRT

Monday, 3 a.m.

It ended on a ground ball. It ended with runners stranded on the base paths. It ended with the rival New York Yankees doing the post-game celebrating.

Still, how hard is it to be too disappointed with the Tampa Bay Rays?

The Rays made the playoffs, won the AL East and won home field advantage throughout the playoffs. They won a franchise-record 100 games. They owned their division.

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So the Yankees got a ground ball. Well, okay.

The Rays wrapped up their regular season Sunday afternoon, losing a 1-0 game to the New York Yankees on a grounder by Aaron Judge. The win allowed the Yankees to slip into the post-season after all.

The Rays? Now they get to concentrate on the American League Division series, which will start in St. Petersburg on Thursday against the winner of the Wild Card game.

The Rays got good pitching, especially from starter Michael Wacha, who allowed only one hit through five innings. But they were 0-11 with runners in scoring position against six Yankee pitchers.

The Yankees had four hits, three of them in the ninth. Two of those came off of Josh Fleming, and Judge's grounder came off Andrew Kittredge.

"With Kit, nothing (was the problem)," said Rays' manager Kevin Cash. "Judge is going to hit the ball hard. He does that as well as anyone in the game. He’s going to strike out or he’s going to find a way to put the barrel on it.  He got the ground ball. I think it ricocheted off (Kittredge's) glove."

Cash was impressed with Wacha, who has been solid lately.

“Very impressive," Cash said. "You've got to feel good about where Wach is now. We continue to talk about it because he continues to go out there and impress. A really well pitched game."

The Rays had five hits and four walks, but were unable to drive a runner home.

Now comes the high-wire games of the playoffs. The Rays reached the World Series last year, but a return trip will be difficult.

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