David Robertson's latest performance was not quite Houdini-like. (Image: Brad Penner-US PRESSWIRE)

Houdini's escape fails; Rays rally past Yanks, 4-1


 

David Robertson fell off the tightrope last night as he blew a one-run lead in the ninth. He allowed his first four runs of the season as the Tampa Bay Rays beat the New York Yankees, 4-1.

Robertson’s second appearance as the new Yankees’ closer looked much like the first, except for all the runs. It spoiled a fantastic effort from David Phelps, Boone Logan, Cory Wade and to a lesser extent Rafael Soriano, who all combined kept the Rays off the scoreboard.

Phelps made it through a rocky 28-pitch first inning and lasted into the fifth, but was pulled with two outs and the bases loaded. Logan got out of the jam by striking out Matt Joyce and maintained the Yankees’ 1-0 lead.

The Yanks gained the lead in the first. Derek Jeter led off the inning with a single. Curtis Granderson flew out to center and Alex Rodriguez struck out. Robinson Cano laced a double to the opposite field to drive in Jeter. That was all the Yankees would get off of Rays starter Jeff Niemann and closer Fernando Rodney.

Logan and Wade had very nice outings, but Soriano did his best Robertson impression in the top half of the eighth. B.J. Upton roped a single to center and Cano made a throwing error on a double play ball to put runners on the first and second with no outs. Soriano struck out Luke Scott and Mark Teixeira saved a run with a great play at first, then throwing for the force at second. That brought out pinch-hitter Desmond Jennings who lifted a soft fly ball to left to end the inning and the threat.

The Yanks got hits from Rodriguez and Cano in the eighth to put runners at first and second, but Rodney got Teixeira to bounce into an inning ending double.

Robertson came in to the game to try and secure his second save in as many days but the Houdini act was on hiatus. He very quickly loaded the bases with none out. He struck out Carlos Pena for the second night in a row on more or less the same pitch. But, up next was Upton and he lifted a sac fly to right field to get a run in and tie the score. Robertson then gave up the big blow to Joyce, a three-run homer to right field, giving the Rays the lead by the final score of 4-1.

NOTEWORTHY
        • Mariano Rivera blew three of his first six save chances in 1997.
        • Rivera has blood clot in his right calf. It was revealed during tests for his torn ACL.
        • According to MLB.com reporter Bryan Hoch, Teixeira is suffering from a bad cough which is beginning to weaken his body.
        • Brett Gardner and Eric Chavez may be able to return today.
        • Joe Girardi mentioned in his post-game press conference that he would not use Robertson in three consecutive games no matter the previous results.

        TODAY’S GAME

        CC Sabathia takes the mound in an effort to get the Yankees back on track and win the series. He’ll face Rays ace David Price.

        MY TWO CENTS

        For what it’s worth, the rubber game of the series is a huge game for the Yankees. I’m not one to talk about must wins, unless there is only one game left in the season and if you lose it’s over. There is plenty of season left after this one, but the Yanks would love to put a dent in the Rays AL East lead instead of adding to it.

        The Yankees are going to need Sabathia at his best in order to counter Price who has been outstanding this season. Price holds great numbers against the heart of the Yankees lineup split by Jeter and Swisher. This puts pressure on a lineup that couldn’t muster much of anything against Niemann and Rodney last night.

        Sabathia has had decent results against the Rays, but he is pitching in a game after both the eighth and ninth inning pitchers have worked two days in a row, so he is going to have to be better than good. Girardi has already mentioned that Robertson would not pitch three straight days, so that leaves only Soriano, who is not exactly shutdown material.

        The Yankees will need the cards to fall in their favor. Houdini is off tonight, but their ace is on the mound, hopefully with some tricks of his own.

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        Tags: A-Rod Alex Rodriguez Andy Pettitte Boone Logan Brett Gardner CC Sabathia Curtis Granderson David Phelps David Robertson Derek Jeter Desmond Jennings Eric Chavez Fernando Rodney Houdini Jeff Niemann Joe Girardi Mariano Rivera Mark Teixeira New York Yankees Nick Swisher Rafael Soriano Rays Robinson Cano Tampa Bay Rays Yankees Yanks