Friday, May 27, 2016

Recap: Yankees 4, Rays 1

People doubting Alex Rodriguez's ability to contribute during his later years is nothing new.

But there's one thing no baseball enthusiast can deny about the veteran: even in his 40s, he finds a way to bouce back.

Such was the case Friday night, when a two-run shot by Rodriguez lifted the Yankees to a 4-1 win over the Rays at Tropicana Field.

The Yankees' offense had started slow, registering just two hits off Chris Archer across the first five innings. But in the sixth, with the help of some shady fielding, New York's bats finally broke through.

After a one-out walk to Brett Gardner, Archer made an errant throw on a pickoff attempt, allowing Gardner to advance to third easily. The Rays responded by bringing the infield in, at which point Taylor Motter botched a Carlos Beltran grounder to put runners on the corners.

Brian McCann plated the game's first run on a fielder's choice, and then A-Rod crushed his sixth long ball of the year to left-center.

The mini outburst backed up a great start by Yanks ace Masahiro Tanaka.

Tanaka, who entered with a 1.69 ERA on the road, tossed seven shutout innings, yielding only two hits while walking none and striking out four.

He ran into trouble in the fifth, but a leaping catch at the wall by Gardner kept Tampa Bay off the board.

Tanaka was ultimately removed with a pitch count of just 82, despite Beltran's eighth-inning solo blast adding additional insurance. Andrew Miller, Kirby Yates and Aroldis Chapman combined to get the last six outs -- though the Rays did score a run when Steve Pearce homered off Yates.

WHAT IT MEANS: The Yankees won their third consecutive series opener, pulling them to within a game of .500. 

NEXT UP: The Yankees and Rays meet again on Saturday. Michael Pineda (2-5, 6.34 ERA) and Matt Moore (1-3, 5.47 ERA) are slated to be your starters, with first pitch set for 4:10 p.m. ET.

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