John Sterling Jinxes Yanks. Tampa 4 NY 2

The score was 1-1 in the 5th inning when Taylor Walls stepped up and John Sterling on the radio jinxed the Yanks, commenting on what Walls said the other night: that the Yanks were “very beatable, and we know we can beat them.”

Sterling pointed to Walls’ .145 batting average and said it was an odd statement coming from Walls, because “HE”s not going to beat them. Not single handedly at least!” Suzyn Waldman chimed in that he probably meant the team, and Sterling agreed but felt it was an odd statement coming from the .145-hitting infielder.

Thirty seconds later Walls hit a homerun off Luis Severino to put Tampa ahead 2-1. The eventual game winner.

In the 8th with the Yanks down 4-2, Walls saved a run with a spectacular play on an Aaron Hicks grounder up the middle to end the inning, stranding Gleyber Torres on 3rd.

Taylor Walls single handedly beat the Yankees.

The Yanks fall to 33-15, and fall to the 2nd best record in baseball, .5 behind the Dodgers. Tampa moves to within 4.5 games out — the same as when the 4-game series between NY and Tampa started.

1. Severino Pitches Well

The good news for the Yanks was that Severino pitched well again. He allowed only 2 hits — a homer to Ji-Man Choi in the 2nd, and the homer to Walls. In between that, he mowed thru the Tampa lineup.

“Everything was working,” said Severino on his pitches. “Fastball was really good. Changeup, slider, going in, going outside. Only 2 hits — homers. The first was a good pitch, he put a good swing on it. The other was a bad pitch.”

Severino pitched into the 7th trailing 2-1 off that Walls homer, and in the 7th, walked the first two batters before striking out Manuel Margot.

Manager Aaron Boone went to the wrong relief pitcher — Ron Marinaccio — who walked two more batters to force in a run, then hit Mike Zunino and it was 4-1 Tampa, a hole the Yanks could not dig out of.

Marinaccio hung tough, getting a grounder that Gleyber Torres made a good play on — a bullet throw home to nab the runner. And then Marinaccio struck out Kevin Kiermaier to end it.

Clarke Schmidt pitched a 1-2-3 9th which left some on Yankee Twitter screaming he should have brought in Schmidt first. With 3 million people following the Yankees on Twitter, laws of probability dictate that there’s always someone (or a whole bunch of people) who called it.

Severino’s final line: 6.1 innings, 2 hits, 4 runs, 8 K’s, 2 walks in 103 pitches. He pitched much better than his line. Afterwards he said he wasn’t tired after walking the 2 in the 7th. “After that I struck out the other guy. I felt I could go more. That was a decision by Booney — he said that was the last batter no matter what. I didn’t do my job on those two hitters, and that’s on me.”

2. McClanahan Rope-a-Dopes Yankee Lineup

Shane McClanahan rope-a-doped the Yankee lineup all afternoon — the Yanks had several chances to score more runs, but McClanahan escaped trouble by reaching back and striking out batters.

Gleyber Torres kicked off the scoring with a homer to left in the top of the 2nd.

The Yanks then got runners on 1st and 3rd with 1 out (single and error by Tampa) but McClanahan struck out Kyle Higoshioka and got a groundout to end the threat.

The Yanks started the 3rd with consecutive singles by DJ LeMahieu and Aaron Judge, but McClanahan struck out the next 2 batters (Anthony Rizzo and Gleyber) and got a groundout to end it.

The Yanks got consecutive singles to start the 6th (Gleyber and Miguel Andujar) but Aaron Hicks hit a shot that was caught at 3rd, and Isiah Kiner-Falefa grounded into a double play.

3. Judge Bomb

Aaron Judge hit a bomb to right center in the top of the 8th to put the Yanks back in business — leading Sterling to rue the 4 straight walks and hit-by-pitch of the inning before.

4. Gleyber Playing Great

After the Judge homer, Gleyber Torres singled, went to 2nd on a wild pitch, stole 3rd, and was there when Walls made the great play on the Hicks grounder to end the inning.

Gleyber’s great defensive plays, homers, and aggressive base running are starting to add up. Gleyber has been playing a heck of a 2nd base lately — his 9-23-.243 (.282 OBP) stat line doesn’t even seem to show how good he’s been. Feels like he’s batting .280.

The Yanks went out 1-2-3 in the 9th against JP Feyereisen — he of the 0.00 ERA (4-0 0.00 in 23 innings thus far this year).

The Boxscore

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