Morton sparkling as Rays beat Yankees again

by Gary Shelton on September 25, 2019 · 0 comments

in general

Morton stood tall in a one-hitter against the Yankees./JEFFREY S. KING

Thursday, 4 a.m.

When Blake Snell grabbed his arm, Charlie Morton kept riding his.

When Tyler Glasnow came up lame, Morton kept striking out hitters.

When Yonny Chirinos faltered, Morton kept winning.

And Wednesday night, as the Rays won their 95th game of the year with a 4-0 shutout over the powerful New York Yankees, it was Morton leading the way again. Once more, he stood tall when the Rays needed someone to, and once more, he was the rock around which this pitching staff is built.

Morton threw six innings of one-hit baseball against the Yankees, striking out nine, to earn his 16th victory of the year and making you wonder just how

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close he came to winning 20. After all, he has 21 starts this season where he has allowed two runs or fewer.

It was the Rays' 12th shutout of the seaosn, their fifth in their last 21 home games.

Choi recovers from a collision at first base./JEFFREY S. KING

“Unbelievable. Amazing," said Rays' manager Kevin Cash. "I’m speechless just with the performance when we need him most. And we’ve been saying that for a month or six weeks, every time he takes the ball we really need him to step up. He certainly did tonight and quieted arguably the best lineup in baseball. Outstanding performance.

"If it isn't for him, we aren't where we are."

Morton allowed only a single to D.J. Lemahieu, and four relievers continued to shut the Yankees down. Andrew Kittredge retired the Yankees in order in the ninth.

Anderson was sharp in the eighth inning once again./JEFFREY S. KING

“I think we did a pretty good job of mixing and I think I located decently and was aggressive," Morton said. "I think we had a pretty good game plan and executed well.

“I’m aware of keeping guys off the bases. I knew that they didn’t have any hits, but I knew that I had 70-plus pitches somewhere probably in the 4th or 5th. I would love to throw a no-hitter, but I’m pretty sure (Kevin) Cash is not going to leave me out there to throw 140 pitches no matter how well I’m throwing.”

Morton was impressed with the bullpen, too.

“In the past 24-30 hours that we have had here it’s been a demonstration," Morton said. "Their guys threw the ball tremendous yesterday too. I thought J.A. Happ threw really well tonight and there was some good pitching all around. Our guys these past few games, and all year too, to hold those guys over there to one run, that’s awesome.”

Kiermaier takes big turn at second base./JEFFREY S. KING

Joey Wendle, who led off the game with a home run, was impressed.

“I know today wasn’t a no-hitter or perfect game, but I would be hard- pressed to think of a better pitched game than tonight from start to finish," Wendle said. "Being one of the more impressive things being at second you get to see a lot of the movement on the pitches and all the locations, and it didn’t seem like there was a spot missed all night by our pitchers. Just an incredible job by them and it’s what they’ve been doing all year.”

Avi Garcia hit his 20th home run and had two hits for the Rays.

Yankees' manager Aaron Boone was impressed as well.

“This is what they’re capable of," Boone said. "I mean this is a big reason why they’re in this position and fighting for a playoff spot. They can really pitch and their run prevention is really good. If you’re not really on top of your game up and down the lineup they can have nights like this, especially when they turn to Charlie (Morton) who’s been their ace and he’s been

Cash has seen his team win 95 games this season./JEFFREY S.. KING

on top of his game. No question, these two games they very much kept us quiet.

Boone said there were reasons Morton is so tough.

“Command to start with, and then really good stuff. The ability to pitch on both sides of the plate with his fastball. Then, the ability to really spin it like very few with command and all. He was on top of things and in command. We made him work a little bit, at least driving his pitch count up but we were not able to mount much.”

The Rays kept pace in the WIld-Card race, staying 1 1/2 games behind Oakland and opening up a 1 1/2 game lead on Cleveland.

The Rays now travel to Toronto for their final series of the season. Tyler Glasnow will pitch for the Rays against T. J. Zeuch. The first pitch is at 7:07 p.m. Friday.

Garcia hit his 20th home run of the season./JEFFREY S. KING

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