Rizzo Walks It Off with Homer in 9th! NY 2 Tampa 1

It was the Ryan Weber game, that turned into the Anthony Rizzo game. And in between Marwin Gonzalez saved the game.

On a night when Luis Severino was a late scratch due to COVID protocol, the Yankees turned to Clarke Schmidt as an emergency starter and an assortment of relievers including Ryan Weber, a journeyman who had been pitching for the Yanks’ AAA Scranton team.

Weber surprised with 3.2 solid innings to keep Tampa at bay. In the top of the 9th, Marwin Gonzalez made a spectacular diving catch with a runner on 1st that ended the inning and any chance of a Tampa run. And then in the bottom of the 9th, Anthony Rizzo — who had previously tied the game 1-1 with an RBI single in the 6th — broke the 1-1 tie with a walk-off homer for the 2-1 victory.

On a beautiful 80-degree June Thursday evening in the Bronx.

“I thought I took a good swing on the fastball, his first pitch — despite not having seen him previously,” said Rizzo afterwards. “then he threw me his cutter, which I felt I took really well. So I just felt good about taking a free swing and just trusting not doing too much, and luckily it went over.”

Weber was asked by reporters afterwards if he was having fun out there. “Packed Yankee Stadium, going for a sweep against the Rays. Getting out after out; grounders. It was fun. It was fun out there,” he answered. “And the guys behind me, they were having fun — they were getting ground balls.  I mean, I know I had fun.”

NY swept Tampa in the 3-game series and moves to 47-16, 10 games ahead of Toronto and 12 ahead of Tampa, which falls to 35-28.

Afterwards — more good news: Severino tested negative for COVID so he rejoins the team for their roadtrip to Toronto.

1. Schmidt Terrific

Clarke Schmidt is no slouch starter. The Yanks’ top starting pitching prospect has this season finally entered his own — and in this game threw down 3 shutout innings, allowing only 1 hit and striking out 5.

Schmidt is 3-2 2.82 on the year, 22.1 innings, only 13 hits allowed, and 20 strikeouts.

2. Weber Surprises

And then Ryan Weber took the mound and all of Yankee Twitter were like “who?” Weber had been pitching with Scranton where he was 2-2 2.95 in 4 starts and 8 appearances. The 31-year-old started his career in 2009 with Atlanta, and has been with Tampa, Boston, Milwaukee, and Seattle.

Weber pitched 3.1 strong innings, allowing only 1 run — a solo homer to catcher Francisco Mejia in the 5th for a Tampa 1-0 lead at the time. It was the only run Tampa would get on the evening. Weber was helped in the 4th by a terrific play at 3rd by Josh Donaldson.

“I was definitely a little more nervous,” said Weber afterwards. “I mean this is the NY Yankees to begin with — best team in baseball. I just wanted to go out there and do my job and do it the best I could.”

3. Yanks Tie It in 6th

Meanwhile the Yanks were getting no-hit into the 5th by Toronto relievers Jalen Beeks and Matt Wisler until Aaron Hicks broke it up with a single off Brooks Raley. But he was erased on a double play.

The Yanks finally got a run to tie the game in the 6th. Raley got the first two outs, and then Tampa manager Kevin Cash brought in reliever Ryan Thompson. The right-handed side-armer proceeded to walk DJ LeMahieu and Aaron Judge — and had to face lefty Anthony Rizzo (new baseball rules that reliever has to face 3 batters) — and Rizzo singled home a run.

4. Marinaccio & King Hold Fort

The Ryan Weber game became the Ron Marinaccio game as he came in and pitched 1.1 innings of shutout ball.

Michael King pitched the 9th — and got the first 2 outs before walking Ji-Man Choi. Yandy Diaz hit a shot to right that Marin Gonzalez made a diving catch on for the final out.

5. Rizzo Walk Off

And then came the 9th. Judge made out, but with 1 out, Anthony Rizzo delivered the game-winning walk off for the old ballgame.

The Boxscore


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