Error hands Yankees 2nd straight walk-off win
NEW YORK -- The Yankees and Rays were tied in the ninth when Ramon Flores laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance pinch-runner Jose Pirela to third and Chris Young to second. But reliever Brad Boxberger's errant throw to first base allowed Pirela to come sliding into home as the Yanks topped the Rays, 3-2, on Saturday at Yankee Stadium with their second straight walk-off victory.
"I just yanked the throw," Boxberger said. " ... I should have made that play and I didn't."
Yankees starter Michael Pineda and Rays starter Nathan Karns both registered 10 strikeouts and allowed five hits each in a pitchers' duel.
The Yanks got on the board in the first when Alex Rodriguez sent a bloop single into right field to score Brett Gardner and Mark Teixeira added a sacrifice fly. The Rays tied it in the eighth with a home run from Steven Souza Jr. off Dellin Betances. It was the first home run Betances has allowed since Aug. 13, 2014.
"It's pretty shocking," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "We haven't seen him do it much, but it just shows you that on any given day somebody can be human and you can make a mistake and leave a ball up and somebody hits it out."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Big day for Big Mike: Pineda recorded double-digit strikeouts for the second time this season, with the other outing being a 16-K start vs. the O's on May 10. His seven shutout innings marked the second time this season he had a scoreless outing, and he has recorded at least nine strikeouts in three of the last six starts. He became just the second Yankees pitcher since 2013 to toss seven or more scoreless innings with 10 or more strikeouts.
Karns is quality: Karns got off to a rough start when the Yankees scored twice in the first, but he settled into a nice rhythm and delivered his third consecutive quality start and seventh of the season. More >
Souza's shot: Souza's game-tying blast off Betances in the ninth gave him 15 home runs on the season. His last homer came on June 19 at Cleveland.
"That was one of those wow home runs," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "He's as tough as anybody in baseball, as far as Betances facing right, lefty, really doesn't matter. Souza had a huge hit for us."
Betances in rare form: Heading into Saturday, Betances hadn't given up a home run all season and led all Major League relievers with 66 strikeouts. The homer he allowed to Souza marked just the third time in 37 appearances Betances gave up at least one earned run, and it snapped a career-best streak of 54 games without allowing a long ball.
"I'm surprised any time Dellin gives up a hit, really," Gardner said. "A lot of guys really struggle off of him. He throws 95 to 100, he's got a real good curveball. He left that curveball up, you've got a pretty good hitter at the plate that put a good swing on it, and he clipped him."
"Well, if there was any question that we were in a bad funk coming into the game, we solidified that with today's game." -- Cash, on the Rays' seven-game skid
"As far as doing better, I think it's just being more consistent, playing better on the road. We need to play better on the road and continue playing well at home. As far as where we're at, we're in a pretty good spot. You could be in the alternative, so our destiny's in front of us. Obviously we need to win series and we need to win games and play well in our division. If you do that, you take your chances." -- Girardi, on where his team is at the halfway point
BELISARIO CLEARS WAIVERS
The Rays designated right-hander Ronald Belisario for assignment on Tuesday. He has cleared waivers and elected to become a free agent.
Rays: Erasmo Ramirez (6-3, 4.01 ERA) has been on a roll, and he'll take the mound vs. the Yankees in Sunday's series finale at 1:05 p.m. ET. Since April 19, he is 6-2 with a 2.18 ERA in 16 games (10 starts). On Tuesday against the Indians, he allowed one earned run on two hits in 5 2/3 innings but took his third loss of the season. He has won three consecutive road decisions.
Yankees: Ivan Nova (1-1, 1.50 ERA) will close out the series for the Yankees in his third start since returning from Tommy John surgery. Nova has quite a bit of experience against the Rays, throwing 82 2/3 innings against them in his career through 13 starts. In those 13 starts, Nova is 6-5 with a 3.59 ERA.
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