Rays edge Yankees to tighten Wild Card race

by Gary Shelton on October 2, 2021

in general

Kiermaier had two hits for the Rays./TIM WIRT

Saturday, 4 a.m.

When you think about it, the Tampa Bay Rays can be accused of being a little greedy. As the saying goes, greed is good.

The Rays have already wrapped up the playoffs, the American League East and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

Now, evidently, they want to help dictate who the Wild Card teams are.

The Rays knocked off the New York Yankees -- who are leading the Wild Card race -- 4-3 at Yankee Stadium Friday night. The Rays held on through a clumsy ninth inning to win.

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Andrew Kittridge gave up four hits and two earned runs in the ninth inning, but he rallied to strike out Gary Sanchez (on three pitches) and Rougned Odor (on four pitches) to earn his eighth save.

Some of the ninth inning problems were not of his design. Left fielder Brett Phillips made a wild throw after a Giancarlo Stanton single that allowed Stanton to take second base. Stanton went to third when the Rays' defensive alignment left the base unoccupied, then scored on Joey Gallo's bunt to the same empty base.

"No concerns," Rays' manager Kevin Cash said. "The bunt was as much on me as anything. I should have pulled Wander over. Kit has as much ice water in his veins as anyone."

The Rays took a 2-1 lead in the second (a Nelson Cruz homer, a Kevin Kiermaier single), and the bullpen -- Pete Fairbanks, Louis Head and Josh Fleming-- made it hold up until the ninth. The Rays got a two-run single from Wander Franco to make it 4-1.

The Rays can win their franchise-record 100th win of the season today when the teams play at Yankee Stadium at 1:10 p.m. Shane Baz will pitch for the Rays against Jordan Montgomery of New York.

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