Pitcher thinks he served up a game-tying HR to Judge in 9th. But wait!

May 14th, 2023

NEW YORK -- It's tough for us normal folks to relate to big leaguers. Few of us know what it’s like to throw a ball 95 mph or hit a ball 400 feet. What many of us can relate to, however, is being in a scenario where we think things are about to go terribly wrong only for it, at the last second, to work out in our favor.

Tampa Bay reliever knows this feeling after Sunday's conclusion to the thrilling Rays-Yankees series at Yankee Stadium.

With two outs in the ninth and the Rays holding a one-run lead, Adam was facing reigning American League MVP , who was coming off a two-homer game on Saturday. Adam delivered a sweeper for his first pitch, and Judge connected. Adam immediately bent over, his head down with both hands on his knees, thinking he had served up a game-tying home run. When Adam finally turned his head back to look, he saw the ball fall into the glove of center fielder Jose Siri on the warning track for the final out of Tampa Bay's 8-7 victory.

You know when a batter gets a bloop hit and the broadcaster will note, "It's a line drive in the box score." This was kind of the pitcher equivalent, Adam working a perfect ninth to get the save while getting the mighty Judge for the final out.

“You never know with Siri out there. He is always deking everybody, I feel like. He deked us more than any other team,” Rays starter Zach Eflin said. “It was awesome seeing him catch that ball. It was a great win for us.”

Adam, hand on his chest, let out what appeared to be a "whoa" before finally switching to a full-on grin.

“I thought it was 30 rows deep,” Adam said. “But thankfully, [Judge] missed it more than I thought.

“This whole series was a tough series. It was a battle on both sides. To come into today down 2-1 in the series and win this game was huge. We carry that momentum into the off-day and into the Mets series [that begins Tuesday].”

Judge said he knew the ball was not going out of the park for his ninth home run of the season.

“Nah. Hit it good, but off the bat, just hit it too high. Especially with how deep it is out there, [I was] kind of praying for a miracle once it got up there.”

Rays third baseman Taylor Walls knew how tough the four-game series – which ended in a split -- would be.

“The Yankees were tough,” Walls said. “Every time we got a lead, they would respond. They would either take it back by putting some runs up or match whatever we did that inning before.

“They are a good ballclub, especially with Judge back. Their lineup is dangerous. We didn’t have a comfortable enough lead. When it was 8-4, we needed to put up as many runs up as possible. Unfortunately, we didn’t get any more, but J.A. shut the doors on them. We needed the win today.”