Yankees make second straight win over Rays as painful as possible

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 2: Rougned Odor #18 of the New York Yankees scores a run past Francisco Mejia #28 of the Tampa Bay Rays during the fourth inning at Yankee Stadium on June 2, 2021 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Adam Hunger/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 2: Rougned Odor #18 of the New York Yankees scores a run past Francisco Mejia #28 of the Tampa Bay Rays during the fourth inning at Yankee Stadium on June 2, 2021 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Adam Hunger/Getty Images) /

Even when they win, the New York Yankees make it difficult. That’s just the sad state of affairs during this unsightly stretch of baseball we’re witnessing.

The Bombers were triumphant on Tuesday night thanks to a Clint Frazier walk-off homer in the 11th, but it was painful. The entire way. They dug out of a deficit. They took the lead. They gave up the lead. They tied it back up. They squandered opportunities to re-take the lead. Then needed two extra innings to get it done when the Tampa Bay Rays were playing worse than they were.

Then came Wednesday night. New York got out to a quick 4-1 advantage, but did you really think it would be that simple? Have you not been watching anything for the past week?

Spoiler alert! It wasn’t simple. At all. In fact, it hardly even felt like a win.

The Yankees defeated the Rays, but it was one of the ugliest wins you’ll see.

When the dust settled, the Yankees came out on top 4-3, but it felt like they were thrown down a flight of steps in order to make it happen.

It all started in the fifth inning when Rougned Odor decided to give the Rays an opportunity by … launching a ball into left field.

Instead of just throwing that to first base, taking the out, and giving Monty a shot to battle the next two hitters with a runner on second, Odor tried for the double play, made a ghastly error, and gave the Rays runners on first and third with no outs. Tampa only got a run out of it, but they chipped away, which is exactly how they crawl back into every game against us.

How about a chance to build upon the lead, Yankees? Anything? In the bottom of the fourth, Aaron Judge grounded out with the bases loaded to end the inning after getting ahead in the count 3-0. In the bottom of the sixth, Stanton and Judge couldn’t tack another on the board with runners on second and third with one out.

And then came the seventh! This one was fun.

After Jordan Montgomery failed to field a comebacker cleanly earlier in the inning (which ultimately ended his night), Jonathan Loaisiga did the same thing, which allowed a run to score. That made it 4-3! We’re having a blast, aren’t we?

OK, how about the bottom of the seventh? Any response?


With runners on first and second and nobody out, a ball in the dirt got away from Rays catcher Francisco Mejia. But he managed to keep it within distance, and he threw out a stealing Gio Urshela at third base. Bummer. Great throw. Nothing you can do about that. At least Gleyber Torres moved from first to second, right?


He just … stopped? For no reason?

Wait, it gets even better.

A few moments later, Torres got caught flat-footed while taking his lead off first base. Picked off. Inning over. And he should have been at second base the entire time.

Let’s fast forward to the ninth. Aroldis Chapman coming on to preserve a 4-3 lead. Feels good. He’s been nails all year with the exception of one outing.

And he almost had his second. He walked the first two batters to lead things off, which was the first time he’s issues multiple walks in an inning all year. Who are the next three batters? Randy Arozarena, Ji-Man Choi and Austin Meadows. All certified Yankee killers.

But we come bearing good news. Chapman struck out Arozarena and Choi before inducing a game-ending groundout to Meadows.

In the end, a win is a win. It does feel somewhat good. But we had another 0-for-4 night from DJ LeMahieu. The Yankees’ hitters went 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position and left nine on base. There were two errors (and it probably should have been three because Loaisiga’s gaffe wasn’t ruled one). There were more base running blunders (29 outs on the base paths this year alone, which is more than double than the next team!)

But let’s end on a positive note. Props to Montgomery, who pitched a nice game. Props to Gio Urshela, who logged a multi-hit game with a homer and two RBI. Props to Clint Frazier for delivering a clutch two-run single in the fourth when it looked like the Yanks were going to blow another opportunity. And good on Loaisiga and Chad Green coming in after throwing over 20 pitches each the night prior to preserve the lead.

We’ll take it, but can we make one of these look easy soon? It’d be refreshing and make us forget about the last week from hell.