Rays let the division lead slip through their fingers

by Gary Shelton on May 18, 2019 · 0 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Rays

Alvarado couldn't slam the door on the Yankees./JEFFREY S. KING

Sunday, 4 a.m.

Somewhere in the smoking rubble that was left after Jose Alvarado's biggest meltdown of the season, the Rays' claim on first place in the AL lies smoldering.

And, man, was this one hard to take.

Alvarado, who has been nearly perfect for most of the season, couldn't stop a Yankees' comeback Saturday night. New York scored three times in the ninth to win a 4-3 game and grab first place from the Rays.

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Lowe had a go-ahead double for Rays./STEVEN MUNCE

Alvarado was allowing hitters just a .140 batting average coming into Saturday night, but he gave up a home run, a double, two singles and a wild pitch in blowing his first lead of the season.

"Any time you get walked off, it’s tough, Rays' manager Kevin Cash said. "We did a lot of things good, we just came up short. You have to give them credit for having some good  at bats against Jose. We would all agree he’s been outstanding this year. It's tough to lose a game that way.

"I don’t know if anything (from Alvarado) wasn’t clicking. He didn’t finish guys off. It's Sanchez, it’s Torrez. There were just a lot of good at bats against him."

In 18 appearances this year by Alvarado, 16 had been scoreless. He had given up only one extra base hit in 18 appearances. He had not given up a homer in 54 innings, the second-longest streak in the majors.

It was the third win in four games this season by the Yankees against the Rays.

Tampa Bay had taken a 3-1 lead in the eighth. Brandon Lowe, who had one hit in his previous 17 at-bats, doubled on a 2-2 pitch to drive in Daniel Robertson, and another run scored when Kevin Kiermaier beat out an infield hit. Willie Adames had a home run earlier in the game.

Alvarado, however, could not save the game despite the two-run lead.

The Rays try to win their second game of the year against the Yankees today at 1:05 p.m. at Yankee Stadium. Blake Snell will pitch against Masahiro Tanaka.


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