The New York Yankees got a taste of what life without Mariano Rivera could be like. Tonight, they try to bounce back from a heartbreaking loss and win their three-game series with the Tampa Bay Rays in the finale of the set at Yankee Stadium
David Robertson loaded the bases in Tuesday's opener, but escaped the jam to pick up his first save for the Yankees in Rivera's absence. On Wednesday, he wasn't so lucky, as he gave up four runs, including a back-breaking three-run homer to Matt Joyce in Tampa's 4-1 win.
B.J. Upton tied the game with a sacrifice fly, and Joyce got just enough of a 1-2 fastball to send it into the first row of seats in right-center despite turning his ankle while finishing his swing.
"It was the best and worst feeling that you could possibly have in the span of a minute," said Joyce. "I was pumped that I hit it and I knew I hit it pretty well but I was on the ground when the ball was in the air."
The Rays had been 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position prior to Joyce's blast against Robertson (0-1), who had not allowed a run in 27 innings dating back to last year.
"I thought I could get away with a fastball there," said Robertson. "I thought I located it pretty well. He put a good swing on it and put a charge into it."
Fernando Rodney (2-0) tossed two scoreless innings of relief to earn the win behind Jeff Niemann, who allowed one run on six hits over seven solid innings.
Tonight the Rays turn to lefty David Price, who has won his last four starts. Price was amazing against the Oakland Athletics on Friday, as he gave up a run and three hits in eight innings. He also struck out 12 batters and improved to 5-1 to go along with a 2.35 ERA.
Price beat the Yanks in his first start of the season and is 5-2 lifetime against them with a 3.96 ERA in 14 games (13 starts).
New York, meanwhile, will counter with an impressive lefty of its own who's also riding a winning streak, as CC Sabathia takes aim at his fifth straight win.
Sabathia beat the Kansas City Royals on Friday, as he surrendered two runs and seven hits and struck out five without walking a batter in eight innings to run his record to 4-0, while lowering his ERA to 4.15.
"CC steps up when we need him the most," Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter said following Sabathia's last start. "He likes to be out there. He likes to finish games. He threw eight great innings."
Sabathia did not get a decision against Price and the Rays earlier in the year and is a mere 9-7 against them in 25 starts with a 3.25 ERA.
The Rays swept the Yanks in a three-game set to start the season.