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By Gary W. Marchese Jr.
St. Petersburg, FL (Sept 29) – The New York Yankees lost to the Tampa Bay Rays by the score of 8-7 on Wednesday night. Dellin Betances started for the Yankees and the 23 year old was making his first major league start. The Yankees used a bunch of relievers as this was their final game and they treated it like a spring training game in that way. The Yankees did play most of their regular lineup and they did the job against David Price. The bullpen blew the game late as the Rays had a huge rally.
Betances pitched two innings giving up a hit; he walked two and struck out two. George Kontos pitched 2/3 of an inning giving up a walk, Aaron Laffey pitched 1 1/3 perfect innings with a strikeout, Phil Hughes pitched an inning giving up a walk, and he struck out one. Raul Valdes pitched an inning giving up a hit and a walk and he struck out one, A.J. Burnett faced one batter and got him out and Andrew Brackman walked one in 1/3 of an inning. Boone Logan pitched 1/3 of an inning giving up two hits, three runs with a strikeout, Luis Ayala pitched an inning giving up two hits, and three runs with a walk and a strikeout and Cory Wade pitched 2/3 of an inning giving up one hit and one run. Wade was charged with his first blown save of the season and Scott Proctor pitched 2 2/3 innings giving up three hits and one run with two walks and three strikeouts. Proctor finished the season 2-6.
Derek Jeter had a walk, Curtis Granderson had a hit and Greg Golson had a hit. Mark Teixeira had two hits and five RBI, Eric Chavez had a hit and Nick Swisher had a hit and a walk. Chris Dickerson had a walk, Andruw Jones had a hit and an RBI, Brett Gardner had a walk and Eduardo Nunez had a hit and a walk. Brandon Laird had a hit. Nunez and Swisher had a double and Teixeira and Jones each had a homerun. The Yankees were 2-12 with runners in scoring position and they left eight men on base. Nunez made an error which was his 20th of the season.
In the first inning Cano reached on a fielding error and a run scored. In the second Teixeira hit a grand slam and the Yankees had a 5-0 lead. In the fourth Teixeira hit a solo homerun to make it a 6-0 game and in the fifth Jones hit a solo homerun to extend the lead to 7-0. The Rays started their comeback in the eighth inning. Sam Fuld walked to force in a run, a pitch to force in another run hit Sean Rodriguez, B.J. Upton hit a sacrifice fly and Evan Longoria hit a three-run homerun.
The Yankees lead was now 7-6. In the bottom of the ninth and two outs, Dan Johnson hit a solo homerun to tie the game at seven. In the 12th inning as the Red Sox game just went final and they lost Longoria hit a walk-off solo homerun to give the Rays the 8-7 victory.
The Yankees finished the season with a 97-65 record. They had nothing to play for in these final three games and were swept by Tampa. The Yankees will head home now to host the Detroit Tigers in the ALDS, which begins on Friday night at 8:37PM. The Rays earned the wild card spot with a win heading to Texas to take on the Rangers in the ALDS. They will play on Friday afternoon at 5:00PM.
The Yankees will send CC Sabathia to the mound against Justin Verlander. It should be a great matchup; they actually faced off on Opening Day back in March. The Yankees will have home field advantage for the first two rounds of the playoffs if they make it that far. If they reach the World Series, the National League has the home field advantage.