The Yankees were playing under unique circumstances Monday – they served as the road team at Citi Field against the Rays due to Hurricane Irma’s destructive path through the west coast of Florida and points north, which necessitated a change of venue for the three-game series. And the two teams were playing against the backdrop of the somber, 16th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
But the Bombers shook off an early-morning arrival Monday after flying from Texas, and Todd Frazier clubbed a three-run home run to help pace the Yankees to a 5-1 victory. The Yankees (78-65) won their third straight moved to within three games of AL East-leading Boston, who was idle Monday.
“I got a pitch I could drive on a 3-2 count, and felt good about it, man. Winning’s contagious. It just seems like when you come to the ballpark right now something good’s gonna happen. Could be any guy,” said Frazier.
CC Sabathia only lasted 4.1 innings in his 24th start of the season, but the big lefty surrendered just one run on six hits, although he had to tangle with another dreaded successful bunt, this one by Peter Bourjos in the third.
“(Sabathia) was not sharp tonight. He had to battle all night. He threw a lot of pitches (88). And (Evan) Longoria has been the guy that’s probably hurt him as much as anyone in the game,” said Yankee manager Joe Girardi on why he pulled Sabathia before Longoria’s at-bat in the fifth.
Rays starter Jake Odorizzi was gone earlier than Sabathia, but the right-hander was mostly undone by the Rays’ shoddy defense in the fourth. After Didi Gregorius hit a sacrifice fly for the Yankees’ first run of the game, Matt Holliday was safe at second on an error by Rays third baseman Trevor Plouffe, who botched fielding Holliday’s grounder down the line. Gary Sanchez, who had singled earlier, scored on the play.
Todd Frazier is congratulated by his teammates after hitting a three-run home run.
(Steven Ryan/Getty Images)
“It’s what opened the door for us to have a big inning,” said Girardi of Plouffe’s error.
Jacoby Ellsbury then reached on catcher’s interference, before Frazier went deep to left for his 24th homer of the season. The Rays scored their run on an Adeiny Hechavarria RBI triple in the second.
Only 15,327 fans showed up in Flushing due to the change of venue from St. Petersburg to Queens, and although all tickets were $ 25, fans sat only in the lower bowl of Citi Field since not enough tickets were sold to fill the middle and upper decks.
PLAY OF GAME
Aaron Judge made a nice running catch at the wall of Adeiny Hechavarria’s fly ball to right in the eighth with two Rays on base and two outs.
Trevor Plouffe’s fourth-inning error. Instead of recording what would have been the third out of the inning and preserving, Plouffe’s fielding flub allowed the Yankees’ go-ahead run.
STAR OF THE GAME
David Robertson. The Yankee reliever pitcher hurled a career-high 2.2 scoreless innings and had four strikeouts to earn the win (8-2) after he replaced Sabathia.
STAT OF THE DAY
30. When Jacoby Ellsbury reached on catcher’s interference in the fourth inning Monday, it was the 30th time in his career, surpassing hit king Pete Rose for most all-time.
Starlin Castro, who went 0-for-4 with two Ks.
CC Sabathia. The lefty didn’t last deep, but was effective enough, with six Ks over 4.1 innings.
Citi Field, 7:10 pm. RHP Sonny Gray (9-9, 3.22 vs. LHP Blake Snell (3-6, 4.36)