And if Tampa 3rd baseman Yandy Diaz hadn’t dropped Andujar’s chopped down 3rd, Benintendi would’ve been out at the plate. That run broke a 22-inning scoreless streak by the Yanks — they had been shutout the prior two games.
It all ruined a tremendous performance by Nestor Cortes Jr — who allowed two singles and a 3-run homer in the 1st inning to Randy Arozarena but then was masterful — pitching through 7 innings and allowing only one more hit.
Too late; too little Yankee offense.
“It’s better to have this happen now, in August, than the 1st week of the playoffs or near the end of the year when you’re getting ready for the playoffs. Kind of getting punched in the mouth a little bit,” said Aaron Judge afterwards. “Having it happen now, and learn how to respond to getting hit in the fence a couple of times, it’s going to be good for us.”
Jeffrey Springs started for Tampa, and was dominant through 5 innings. And then the Tampa bullpen came in for 4 shutout innings.
On a beautiful, 75-degree summer Tuesday night in the Bronx.
Tampa has already taken the 3-game series by winning the 1st two games, and vaults into 2nd place, 9 games behind NY. Toronto is 10 out; Baltimore 10.5 out; Boston 14 out.
The Yanks were once 40 games over .500 — they are now 72-45 — only 27 over.
1. Cortes Impressive
The good news was that Nestor Cortes Jr pitched another impressive game — sans the two singles to leadoff the game and the 3-run bomb given up to Arozarena.
— Rays de Tampa Bay (@raysbeisbol) August 17, 2022
After that, Cortes was absolutely masterful, allowing only an infield single in the 6th. No walks. His line: 7 innings, 4 hits, 3 runs, 4 K’s, 0 walks. He is the hard-luck loser to go 9-4 2.74.
2. Springs Shuts Down Yanks
Jeffrey Springs was impressive on the other hill — the 6’3 righty improved his record to 5-3 2.52.
Springs has ‘been around’ — this is his 5th year in the Majors after coming up with Texas and spending a year with the Red Sox. He pitched well in relief last year with Tampa, and this year has become a starter. It was his 16th start.
3. Benintendi Provides Only Yank Offense
The Yanks finally got to Springs in the bottom of the 5th when Andrew Benintendi hit a 1-out triple off the wall in right center.
Benintendi knocks his first triple as a Yankee pic.twitter.com/dT6fHXdPC8
— Talkin' Yanks (@TalkinYanks) August 17, 2022
Miguel Andujar then hit a chopper to 3rd, and Yandy Diaz looked like he had time to catch it and throw home to nail Benintendi by a mile — but Yandy dropped the ball trying to pull it out of his glove. The Yanks finally had a run — 3-1 Tampa.
4. Tampa Bullpen Shuts the Door
But that was it for the scoring. Tampa’s bullpen of Pete Fairbanks, Brooks Raley, Shawn Armstrong, and Jason Adam shut the door — Adam retiring the side in order in the 9th — striking out 2 including for the old ballgame.
5. Yankee Injured Hitters
Some of the Yankee lack of offense can be explained by injuries to:
- DJ LeMahieu, who is out with a toe issue that had been plaguing him the last week;
- Giancarlo Stanton who has been out since the All Star break;
- Anthony Rizzo is still not on track after coming back from back issues; and
- Matt Carpenter is out for the year.
Those are 4 of the 5 hitters at top of the Yankee lineup for most of the 1st half of the season. After the game, NY called up hot-hitting infielder Oswaldo Cabrera from AAA (8-29-.262, .340 OBP in AAA), as well as Estevan Florial (14-39-.286, .368 OBP in AAA with 32 stolen bases).