The game got ugly early and uglier later as the Yanks lost 6-2. Sabathia struggled to locate his fastball, working long counts as the game went on and getting his mistakes hit. Oddly, the defense let the Yanks down with a couple errors and misplays, costing the Yanks a couple runs. Meanwhile, Kazmir locked down the Yanks through 7+, allowing just one run. We haven’t seen a poor brand of baseball from the Yanks much lately, but tonight’s game certainly qualified.
A-Rod led off with a single in the second and stole second, his seventh steal, but was stranded. The Rays plated their first run in the bottom of the second, thanks to some generosity from Jeter and Sabathia. Zobrist singled and, on the play, Jeter launched the throw into the seats, giving Zobrist second. Sabathia walked two, and Navarro’s sac fly scored Zobrist. In the third, Upton blooped a single to right, and Crawford tripled off the wall in center, 2-0 Rays. A-Rod launched Longoria’s ground ball, allowing Crawford to score, 3-0 Rays.
Teixeira blooped a double to right to lead off the fourth, and A-Rod hit a missile that Crawford nabbed. Matsui then singled in Teixeira, 3-1 Rays, but Matsui rounded the bag too far on Kapler’s throw home and got caught for the second out. Longoria got the run back with a homer to left in the bottom of the fifth, 4-1 Rays. In the sixth, Kapler doubled to left, moved to third on Navarro’s 4-3, and scored on Bartlett’s shot to first, which Teixeira leaped high to reach and knocked down, but was beaten to the bag, scoring Kapler 5-1. Upton’s double to right that eluded a clumsy Swish scored Bartlett, 6-1 Rays.
Kazmir allowed the Yanks nothing afterward, retiring 10 straight after Posada followed Matsui’s single and overrun of first with two out in the top of the fourth. A well rested Melancon worked 2 1/3, allowing but a bloop single to Navarro in the eighth and saving the rest of the pen. He looked good, but it was cold comfort in a game in which the Yanks looked flat and, thanks to Kazmir, were made to look so. After A-Rod’s single in the ninth, Matsui doubled him in off ex-Yankee Randy Choate, 6-2 Rays.
A-Rod and Matsui each had two hits, and Teixeira, Posada, and Swish each had a hit, and Matsui’s RBIs put him at 46 this year. Otherwise, the offense was stagnant. The lack of offense notwithstanding, Sabathia was poor today, failing to locate his fastball and struggling after a fast first inning. The line: 5 2/3 IP, 9 H, 6 runs 5 earned, 2 BB, and 6 K on 109 pitches/60 strikes. He’s been sub-par overall in July after terrific work in May and June. The infield’s defense let down tonight, but that has been rare. The outfield, however, has been more erratic, and tonight was a clear example of that and their collective limitations, especially without Gardner.
Such games are no fun, but have thankfully been anomalous since mid-June. With Boston beating Baltimore 6-3 in the eighth, the Yanks are on the verge of giving a game back. Hopefully the Yanks can get back to their winning ways tomorrow behind Joba (6-2, 3.86 ERA), who faces Garza (7-7, 3.68 ERA) tomorrow night in the rubber match.