Is there anything worse than giving up the game-winning run almost immediately after your team ties up a game on a semi-dramatic two-run home run? Probably. But last night, that was the worst thing the Yankees could have done.
In the eighth inning, the Yankees found themselves down 4-2 to the Rays with Brett Gardner on second with one out and Matt Holliday at the plate. Then this happened:
The Yankees tie the game!
Starlin Castro singled to keep the “rally” going but Aaron Judge grounded into a double play to end the inning.
In the bottom of the eighth, Tyler Clippard came in and got Daniel Robertson to strike out. Then he walked Derek Norris. Then he struck out Corey Dickerson. Then he walked Kevin Kiermeier. The next batter was Evan Longoria who only seems to hit against the Yankees.
Oh wait, he is. Big thanks to stats mistress extraordinaire Katie Sharp for this nugget: Evan Longoria is 9-24 (.375) in seven games against Yankees this season and he’s hitting .228 against everyone else. So no, you’re not imagining things. Longoria really does only hit against the Yankees.
This time, Longoria hit an RBI single that scored Norris. And how did he do it? Well, Clippard threw Longoria an 82 mph splitter that didn’t quite split enough. It was right at the bottom of the strike zone and Longoria hit it past Didi Gregorius and broke the tie.
It was Longoria’s fourth hit of the game.
The Yankees went down in order in the top of the ninth and lost 5-4. Clippard was saddled with his second loss of the season and thanks to an extra-inning, walk-off win by the Orioles over the Blue Jays, the Yankees’ lead in the AL East standings is now a trim 1/2 game.
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