New-look pen helps Rays beat Yanks, salvage series finale
NEW YORK (AP) — Last weekend, Sergio Romo was with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Dan Jennings the Chicago White Sox and Steve Cishek the Seattle Mariners.
On Sunday, they combined for three hitless innings for the Tampa Bay Rays in an example of baseball’s latest fad: stacking bullpens for playoff pushes.
“We came just guns blazing, and it was fun to be a part of something like that,” Cishek said Sunday after the Rays’ bullpen logged five scoreless innings during a 5-3 win over the New York Yankees that salvaged the finale of a four-game series.
Pitching on his 24th birthday — and with his lucky rubber ducky on hand in a clubhouse equipment bag — rookie Jacob Faria started just four of 20 batters with strikes and lasted 12 outs.
Acquired last weekend, Romo got two outs, as did Jennings, obtained just before Thursday’s series opener. Added on Friday, Cishek (2-1) retired five batters for the win.
“It’s kind of what they brought us in for,” Romo said. “You always want to justify any team making a move or any team trying to show you that want you around.”
Tampa Bay had been 0-6 at Yankee Stadium this year and had lost eight of its previous 10 games. The Rays are 3½ games behind the AL East-leading Yankees and 2½ games out for a wild card berth heading into a series at AL-best Houston.
“This was a swing game,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said.
Corey Dickerson hit a go-ahead, two-run single in a three-run third off rookie Jordan Montgomey (7-6), and the Rays scored all their runs with two outs, overcoming 16 strikeouts by Yankees pitchers.
Faria celebrated his birthday Saturday night at the Cuba Restaurant and Rum Bar in New York’s Greenwich Village along with his fiancee, his mom, her mom and her sisters. Jessica Soto had gone to Kleinfeld Bridal earlier in the day to pick out a gown for their wedding on Nov. 16, 2018. She bought Faria a new Apple watch.
But he faulted himself for “just kind of going through the motions early” in his warmup, and he gave up three runs and three hits with eight strikeouts.
“It was a just a matter of not preparing enough before the game,” he said. “My bullpen was not very good, and I’ve fallen into such a routine of, like, OK, no matter what the bullpen is, I’ll fix it in the game.”
Romo relieved after Faria walked the first two batters of the fifth. He started with a wild pitch and then struck out Aaron Judge on a slider and retired Matt Holliday on a pop to short right.
Romo had a 6.12 ERA in 30 games with the NL West-leading Dodgers.
“What is it? A old face, new place-type thing? It’s been fun,” Romo said. “I don’t feel that I came to a lesser situation, although we’re not in first place, like the other squad.”
Jennings got Didi Gregorius on a groundout and retired the leadoff man in the sixth, then was replaced by Cishek with two on after a walk and shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria’s throwing error on a grounder.
Cishek hit Austin Romine on the left hand with a pitch, then induced Brett Gardner to ground into a 3-2 forceout and retired Clint Frazier on a flyout. Cishek followed with a 1-2-3 seventh.
“They’re veteran guys that have pitched really well in big situations in the past,” Cash said. “That’s the track record that they bring with them. We anticipate on being in some big situations going forward.”
Tommy Hunter pitched a perfect eighth. Alex Colome allowed a hit and a walk with one out in the ninth before Aaron Judge fouled out and Holliday grounded out, giving him his AL-high 30th save in 35 chances.
Trevor Plouffe hit an RBI single in the first that stopped an 0-for-16 slide, but Ronald Torreyes’ two-run homer in the second put the Yankees ahead. Tampa Bay took a 4-2 lead in the third when Wilson Ramos followed Dickerson with an RBI single.Torreyes’ run-scoring double made it a one-run game in the fourth, but Steven Souza Jr. added an RBI double against Chad Green in the eighth.
“It’s big win for us,” Romo said. “You don’t want to fall too far behind.”
Rays DH Lucas Duda is 7 for 12 with two homers and RBIs since he was acquired from the New York Mets.
Tampa Bay had homered in its previous 15 games at Yankee Stadium.
Rays: 1B Logan Morrison (bruised left heel) missed his third straight start but could return by Tuesday. He pinch hit with the bases loaded and two outs in the seventh and was hopping mad over umpire Lance Barksdale’s called third strike on a Green pitch at the knees on the inside corner — Morrison jumped with both feet. ... OF Kevin Kiermaier, recovering from a broken hip, was scratched Saturday at Class A Charlotte because of back tightness and probably won’t play until Tuesday, Cash said.
Rays: RHP Alex Cobb (9-5) takes the mound Monday at Houston, which goes with RHP Charlie Morton (8-4).
Yankees: RHP Luis Severino (7-4) starts Monday’s series opener against Detroit and RHP Michael Fulmer (10-8).
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