With their pitching staff providing a record 18 strikeouts, the Tampa Bay Rays showed some pop of their own against the New York Yankees.
Randy Arozarena, Mike Zunino, Manuel Margot and Austin Meadows homered, and Tyler Glasnow struck out 10 to set a postseason record for the Rays, who beat the Yankees 7-5 Tuesday night to even their AL Division Series at one game apiece.
The Rays had enough power to overcome a huge game by Giancarlo Stanton, who had two home runs and four RBIs. His impressive power display included a 458-foot, three-run homer that landed under the giant video board in left field at Petco Park. It was reminiscent of the mammoth shots he hit in winning the Home Run Derby here in 2016.
Stanton has three homers this series and five in four postseason games. His grand slam in the ninth inning Monday night was the Bronx Bombers’ fourth homer in the 9-3 Game 1 win. The Yankees have 13 homers in five games.
Each team has hit six home runs in two games at the downtown ballpark, where the outfield once had the reputation as a place where fly balls went to die. The fences were moved in before the 2013 season.
“We had each other’s back,” Meadows said. “If a guy’s having a tough game, I feel like the next guy up really picks him up. For us, to continue to try to hit the ball hard, especially in big situations, our offense is pretty deadly when we can do that.”
Manager Kevin Cash was relieved with his team’s power display. Teams improved to 16-0 in the postseason when outhomering opponents.
“Randy, it’s unbelievable what he’s doing right now,” Cash said. “Z came up with just a big homer for us. Meadows, it’s good to see him get going; Manny just separated the game right there was good. Unfortunately we didn’t get that shutdown inning we were looking for. We needed every bit of them.”
Four Rays pitchers struck out 18, an MLB postseason record for a nine-inning game and a postseason record for Yankees batters.
“It’s a credit to our stuff,” Cash said. “And that’s saying something for that group over there because they’re selective and that’s a very talented, very deep offense. But it does speak volumes to the amount of stuff on a given night we can feature.”
Game 3 in the best-of-five series is Wednesday night. The Rays, who won the AL East at 40-20 and are the top seed, were the home team for the first two games while the Yankees will be the home team for the next two games.
Stanton became the first Yankees player to homer in four straight games in the same postseason when he lined a shot into the home run porch in right field off Glasnow leading off the second. Stanton, who’s from Los Angeles, joined Reggie Jackson and Lou Gehrig as the only Yankees to homer in four straight postseason games overall.
“That was a good swing,” Stanton said of his long homer. “I was just glad to put the barrel on it. I didn’t really care how far it was going. I knew it was out. That’s all I cared about. You kind of black out sometimes on those.”
But the Rays have pop, too. Arozarena homered for the second time this series, with two outs in the first against rookie Deivi Garcia, who at 21 years, 140 days, became the youngest Yankees pitcher to make a postseason start. Arozarena’s opposite-field shot landed in the home run deck in right.
Garcia served as an opener for J.A. Happ, who surrendered Zunino’s two-run shot off the facade of the second deck in left with two outs in the second for a 2-1 lead. Happ also gave up Manuel Margot’s two-run homer to straightaway center with one out in the third that made it 5-1.
Margot played for the San Diego Padres for four seasons before being traded to the Rays for reliever Emilio Pagan
Happ, who had not pitched since Sept. 25, said he preferred to be used as a starter.
“They explained to me that it was going to be a short outing,” Garcia said. “I didn’t know exactly how many pitches, how many innings, anything like that, (but) I just went about it like a regular outing. Preparation was the same and routine was the same.
“I feel really good and healthy, but I don’t know. We’ve got to see, but ideally I could be ready to pitch tomorrow or Thursday.”
The lead was just enough to survive Stanton’s three-run shot.
Glasnow allowed three hits and four runs in five-plus innings, while walking three. His 10 strikeouts surpass the previous Rays postseason record of nine, done three times. The most recent was by Blake Snell in Game 1 of the wild-card series against Toronto.
It was the Rays’ 10th straight win when Glasnow pitches. He won his fifth straight start and seventh consecutive decision.
Tampa Bay added on with Kevin Kiermaier‘s RBI single in the fifth and Meadow’s solo homer to leading off the sixth, both off Jonathan Loaisaga.
Rays: RHP Charlie Morton (0-0, 0.00 ERA) is scheduled to make his 2020 postseason debut Wednesday night for Tampa Bay, He is 4-2 with a 3.83 ERA in 10 starts against the Yankees, including 0-0 with a 2.25 ERA in two starts this season. He started against New York in Games 3 and 7 of the 2017 ALCS, going five scoreless in the deciding game to send the Astros to the World Series.
Yankees: RHP Masahiro Tanaka is scheduled to go for New York. It’ll be his 10th postseason start and second of 2020. With Garcia going just an inning, that means LHP Jordan Montgomery would appear likely to go in Game 4 and if needed, ace Gerrit Cole in Game 5, which would be his first ever start on short rest.
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