Rays close East race with a win over Yankees

by Gary Shelton on August 20, 2020

in general

Brousseau drove in the winning run./TIM WIRT

Thursday, 4 a.m.

In the immortal words of King Kong, what’s the big deal about New York?

Sometimes, the Big Apple isn’t so intimidating, after all.

Just ask the surging Tampa Bay Rays, who won their second straight game at Yankee Stadium Wednesday night. In all, the Rays have beaten the Yankees five of six times this season, and after Wednesday, they closed to within a half-game of the American League East division lead.

The Rays won 4-2, scoring eighth-inning runs on singles by Mike Brousseau and Willy Adames to break a tie.

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“(Brosseau’s hit) was pretty big,” Rays’ manager Kevin Cash said. “Really big. We’re facing — as good as anyone in baseball — their back end of their bullpen. Credit Bross for laying off a couple of pitches and getting the ball up. When you expand with him is when he gets a lot of weak ground balls. Bross didn’t. He got a pitch he could handle and got a big hit.”

Oh, the Rays have had their woes at Yankee Stadium. Since 2015, they’re only 15-35 against New York on the road, and they were 2-9 last year. Since late 2014, the Rays had lost 15 of their last 16 series against the Yankees.

All of that said, the Rays continued to plague the Yankees this season. On Tuesday night, they were the first visitors to win at Yankee Stadium this year, and Wednesday, they became the first guests to win a series in 28 straight.

Even tougher? One night after beating Masahiro Tanaka, the Rays won a game in which the Yankees started Gerrit Cole (no decision).

Cole was splendid, it should be said, getting 10 strikeouts over 6 2/3 innings. But he gave up solo homers to Ji-Man Choi and Mike Zunino as the Rays took a 2-0 lead.

The Yankees came back to tie, but the Rays’ bullpen was lights-out again. Five Rays’ relievers threw 3 1/3 innings of scoreless baseball to preserve the win.

Brousseau pinch-hit in the eighth, and he spanked a 2-0 pitch off Zack Britton into center to single in Brandon Lowe with the winning run. Willy Adames followed with a single on a 3-0 pitch to right.

“It’s pretty well known that his two-seam sinker is pretty top-notch,” Brousseau said. “If you swing at a pitch that’s low, it’s not going to be good with the stuff he has. I was looking for a pitch up.

“We have a very high level of confidence in the clubhouse fo sure. I don’t think there is one person in the clubhouse who thinks we’re ever out of a game. It’s a dangerous team for sure.”

Tyler Glasnow had his best outing as a starter. He threw 5 2/3 innings and allowed just two hits.

“The highlight for me was Glasnow,” Cash said. “He looked the part. Just an outstanding job with his strike-throwing ability.”

“I think that was the first time I  started to feel comfortable on the mound,” Glasnow said. “It started out relatively good and as the game went on, I got a little better. It was much more consistent today.”

The Rays can take over first place in the division if they win today’s 1:05 p.m. game. They have not announced a starting pitcher, but the Yankees will go with James Paxton.

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