NEW YORK -- For the second day in a row, the Rays had a bullpen day. This time, it worked out in their favor as they defeated the Yankees, 3-1, at Yankee Stadium on Sunday afternoon to take the finale of the four-game series.Right-hander Wilmer Font started the game for
NEW YORK -- For the second day in a row, the Rays had a bullpen day. This time, it worked out in their favor as they defeated the Yankees, 3-1, at Yankee Stadium on Sunday afternoon to take the finale of the four-game series.
Right-hander Wilmer Font started the game for Tampa Bay and was outstanding, allowing one run in 4 2/3 innings while striking out five batters. His only blemish was a solo home run to Aaron Hicks in the fifth inning.
"Today, he gave us a huge boost with a chance to win. He went a little deeper than what we anticipated," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "But he was efficient and threw strikes."
Said Yankees manager Aaron Boone: "Font was good. His fastball was wide range -- low 90s to even upper 90s. A lot of teams have been interested in him because the ability is there. He flipped in the curve enough to keep us off balance. He was under control for most of the game and we couldn't break through on him."
Font said he was surprised that he was allowed to pitch into the fifth inning, but it helped that he had fastball command and a good slider. During his last three innings, he relied on his curveball.
"I wanted to [finish] the fifth, but we got a team win. That's all that matters," Font said.
The Rays are hoping Font can go deeper into games in the future. Font believes he can be a solid member of the rotation.
"I feel pretty good starting, I can throw more pitches the next start," Font said.
The Rays used four additional pitchers, who blanked the Yankees the rest of the way. Chaz Roe ended up being the winning pitcher, while Sergio Romo earned the save.
"It was definitely a good win for us," Roe said. "[After Font left the game], it was, 'Bring on the guns,' especially guys with arms like Diego Castillo and Jose Alvarado. It's just tough to beat."
Yankees left-hander Carsten Sabathia was solid in a losing effort. He pitched 7 2/3 innings, allowing three runs on 10 hits with 10 strikeouts. All three runs came in the second inning.
Willy Adames scored the first run of the game on a double by Carlos Gomez. Three batters later, Matt Duffy drove in Adeiny Hechavarria and Gomez with a single to right field.
"I don't know CC all too well," Duffy said. "I was trying to see the ball as best as I can. It was the one pitch of the at-bat I saw decently. I kind of stuck the bat out there and I got the barrel on it."
Duffy, who went 3-for-4 in the game, drove in four of the Rays' seven runs during the four-game series.
"Every time I talk about him, it's pretty amazing that he has done this with a year off [because of an Achilles injury]," Cash said. "I know we are getting into the season where the timing is what it is, but Matt works really hard. Probably all season, he has been our most consistent [hitter] at the plate. He doesn't try to do too much. But when he gets opportunities with guys on base, he has that knack to calm the situation down -- not expand, trust what he is capable of and then he comes up with big hits."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
High-wire acts: The game could have gotten out of hand in the bottom of the eighth inning with Castillo on the mound. Didi Gregorius reached base on a leadoff infield single and went to second on a throwing error by Castillo. That brought Giancarlo Stanton to the plate as the potential tying run, but Castillo struck the slugger out, got Greg Bird to ground out and fanned Gary Sanchez to end the threat.
In the fifth, Alvarado was able to emerge from his own jam unscathed, striking out Stanton after walking a pair to put the tying runs on base.
Rays hitters struck out 46 times during the four-game series, their highest team total in a four-game series this season and the most since a four-game series against the Indians from Aug. 10-13, 2017.
Right-hander Ryne Stanek will get the start Monday against the Astros at 8:10 p.m. ET in the Rays' third consecutive bullpen day. Stanek last pitched on Saturday, going 1 1/3 innings without allowing a run against the Yankees. The Rays will face right-hander Gerrit Cole, who is off to one of the best starts of his career. He is 8-1 with a 2.40 ERA.
Bill Ladson has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2002. He covered the Nationals/Expos from 2002-2016. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.