Urshela's 4-hit, 3-RBI day leads Yanks
The Yankees arrived at Tropicana Field revisiting recent history, witnessing the on-field celebration as the Rays unveiled the American League pennant from last autumn. They departed with hopes of making a statement, raising optimism that this year may feature a different conclusion.
Rougned Odor marked his Yankees debut with a go-ahead single in the top of the 10th inning and Gio Urshela homered as part of a four-hit, three-RBI performance, helping New York salvage the finale of its three-game series with an 8-4, 10-inning victory on Sunday afternoon at Tropicana Field.
“It was a rough series all around. We hadn’t been able to get anything going offensively, missing that big hit,” said outfielder Aaron Judge. “Today, we had Gio Urshela lead us from his first at-bat on. It’s always nice ending the series with a win. I wish we would have won the series, but it’s good on getaway day to get the win.”
Atoning after flushing prime opportunities in the eighth and ninth innings, the Yankees delivered four runs in the 10th, sparked by Odor’s looping single to center field on a 3-2 pitch. Gary Sánchez added a sharp run-scoring hit and Urshela chased home two more runs with his fourth hit of the day, a single that bounced over the head of right fielder Manuel Margot.
“I don’t try to do too much; just hit the ball as hard as I can,” Urshela said. “There’s no pressure at all. We’re trying to play ball and have some fun. That’s it.”
Aroldis Chapman picked up the victory with a scoreless ninth inning and Albert Abreu notched the final three outs.
The Yanks trailed by a run going to the eighth inning, when Judge and Giancarlo Stanton worked walks against Ryan Thompson. Gleyber Torres followed by lashing a game-tying single into left field, scoring Judge from second base. Before that hit, Torres had been 0-for-6 with five strikeouts with runners in scoring position this season.
“I think we came in with an edge today,” New York manager Aaron Boone said. “I thought overall, we did a lot of really good things today, even when some things were hard.”
Torres’ knock was the brand of hit that seemed in short supply. DJ LeMahieu grounded into a bases-loaded double play that ended the seventh and the Yankees left two men on in the eighth.
Urshela’s leadoff double and a Brett Gardner walk seemed to set them up in the ninth, but after a Kevin Padlo throwing error kept the frame alive, the rally short-circuited when Gardner was nabbed wandering from third base on a Diego Castillo pitch in the dirt.
“We’ve always had some struggles here in Tampa,” Judge said. “I don’t know what it is. Especially with guys on base, we just can’t muster up that big hit. Every single time we go up there, we’re always thinking, ‘This is it.’ We got a couple of guys step up for us today. It took us a couple of games to get that big hit, but we finally did.”
New York relievers pitched five scoreless frames in relief of starter Jordan Montgomery, who permitted four runs on five hits and two walks over five-plus innings. Montgomery also hit Austin Meadows two times; the first prompted warnings for both teams.
“I wasn’t trying to, but I understand the umpires are trying to control the situation,” Montgomery said.
Montgomery said that the game was a grind, one in which he permitted two-run homers to Mike Zunino and Randy Arozarena. Montgomery said he couldn’t find a good tempo and struggled to generate his usual brand of soft contact before turning the pitching over to Chad Green, who retired all seven men he faced. Darren O'Day also set down the two batters he saw.
Rays opener Brent Honeywell pitched two clean innings in his Major League debut, but Urshela put the Yankees on the board in the third inning, mashing a 453-foot drive to straightaway center field off Michael Wacha for a two-run homer. A third run scored against Wacha when Aaron Hicks grounded into a bases-loaded double play.
Including the 2020 AL Division Series, New York has won just five of its last 20 meetings with the Rays, dating back to September 2019.
“You’re going to take your lumps now and then, even when you’re a really good club,” Boone said. “We had a tough first couple of games here, and I thought it was a really good job of turning the page and playing some winning baseball here today.”