Tampa Bay’s continued experimentation with relievers as starters has had mixed results, but it helped the Rays beat the best team in baseball on Friday night, and they’ll hope for the same formula as the series continues Saturday at Tropicana Field.
It’s a little backwards, a little different, but it is what it is, Yankees’ Brett Gardner said after Friday’s 2-1 win for the Rays.
On Saturday, the Rays will start reliever Wilmer Font (0-3, 7.56 ERA), who is already with his third team in 2018, but has found surprising success growing into the unusual role. In six June appearances, he has managed to last longer in each outing — 2/3 of an inning, then 1 1/3, then 2, then 2 1/3, then 3 1/3, and then 4 2/3 on Sunday against the same Yankees.
Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez, next in the All-Star voting, went 0-for-4 to drop his season average to .194. Ramos may get traded before this year’s deadline, but he’s making the most of his time with the Rays.
No one will confuse the Yankees (50-23) with the Rays (35-40), but another bullpen day Saturday could flummox a New York batting order that managed only five hits Friday. And when they did get hits, the Yankees couldn’t capitalize and went 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position.
After the Rays dropped their first six games against the Yankees this season, they have won two straight as they try to again claw back to playing .500 baseball.
The Braves surrendered six runs in the ninth, and then scored four times in the bottom of the inning.
Peter Moylan, Atlanta’s eighth pitcher, hit Craig Gentry to open the 15th. Gentry moved to second on Austin Wynns’ sacrifice.
With first base open, the Braves pitched to Machado and he responded with his 19th homer, a drive into the Orioles’ bullpen in left.
Snitker said the right-handed Moylan is tough on right-handed hitters but acknowledged you hate like hell (Machado) is one of them.
Machado said an intentional walk crossed my mind at first. I thought they were. In that situation they probably had faith in Moylan out there that he could get some ground balls to the left side of the infield.
Machado hit a 0-2 slider Moylan said was supposed to be middle in. Moylan said the pitch slipped out of my hand and ended up middle middle.
Moylan (0-1) gave up another run on singles by Colby Rasmus and Jonathan Schoop.
Mike Wright Jr. (1-0), Baltimore’s seventh pitcher, threw two scoreless innings.