Rays ride two hits to take split against Yanks

by Gary Shelton on May 30, 2022

in general

Monday, 4 a.m.

For a day, it wasn't about Shane McClanahan's velocity. It wasn't so much about his accuracy.

On Sunday, it was about his resiliency.

McClanahan, the oft-overpowering left-hander of the Tampa Bay Rays, was a mongoose Sunday, darting in and out of danger. He was an escape artist, dancing around trouble.

McClanahan ran his record to 5-2 with six innings of one-run baseball Sunday in a 4-2 victory over the New York Yankees. After dropping the first two games of the series, the Rays came back to split despite an offense that didn't do a lot.

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-- In the second inning, McClanahan -- after giving up a home run -- had runners on first and third with one out. The Yankees didn't score again.

-- In the third inning, the Yankees had runners on first and second with one out. They didn't score.

-- In the sixth inning, they had runners on first and second with no one out. They didn't score.

How good was McClanahan? He was so good that he made just two Rays' hits -- both solo home runs -- enough to earn his fifth win. He struck out seven, running his league-leading total to 81.

“Very impressive," said Rays' manager Kevin Cash. "It felt like there was a ton of traffic from inning to inning. He stayed kind of within himself and didn’t try to do too much. Just made pitches. When he needed strikeouts, he got strikeouts. When he needed ground balls, he got ground balls."

A lot of those ground balls went to infielder Taylor Walls, who made dazzling plays. In the sixth, he started an inning-ending double play on a ground ball hit by Isiah Kiner-Falefa. In the eighth, he made a sliding backhand stab of a grounder by Aaron Hicks. 

"Pretty spectacular," Cash said. " That play at the end of the ball game with Hicks ... the ball goes right  through Poche’s legs and Walls comes out of nowhere. He did a lot of things to help us win the ball game."

Walls, who had been in a one-for-34 skid, also hit a home run, as did Ji-Man Choi. The Rays scored twice in the seventh behind four walks and a hit batter

"He (Luis Severino) was staying soft  the whole at-bat," Walls said. "I knew when it got to 3-1 there was a chance he was going to come hard and that was the pitch to do it with."

The Rays had only 17 hits in the four-game series, only 10 off of the Yankees' starters.

“I know we didn’t knock the cover off the baseball," Cash said. "But walks can be big. I was impressed with (Harold) Ramirez’s at-bat."

The Rays open a series in Texas tonight against the Rangers. Drew Rasmussen will start for Tampa Bay against Glenn Otto.

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