The Rays didn’t allow the outside noise that circulated around Game 1’s 9-3 loss to drain their tank. Like their opponents on Monday night, the Rays drew four blasts to extend a 7-5 lead to give them the Game 2 victory against the New York Yankees on Tuesday night at Safeco Field.
The slew of dingers started with Rays Cuban left fielder Randy Arozarena, who hit a 94-mph fastball for a solo home run in the bottom of the first inning to give the Rays a 1-0 lead. Arozarena has found his stride in the postseason, contributing a .563 average, 1.776 OPS with two home runs and three RBI to his 2020 October success. His nine hits in four postseason games are the most in franchise history, also adding four straight extra-base hit games to his playoff resume after tallying two hits on Tuesday.
The Yankees power surge was again fueled by the bat of Giancarlo Stanton who clobbered two home runs in the Bombers loss. In the top of the second inning, Giancarlo Stanton drilled a 84-mph curveball to right field at an exit velocity of 114.8-mph to tie the game for the Yankees in the top of the second inning. It was the 11th home run in 21 games for Stanton at Petco Park — the same ballpark where he won the 2016 Home Run Derby.
When you thought Stanton couldn’t hit the ball any harder, in the fourth inning he maliciously battered a 97-mph fastball 458-feet into the top deck in left field at an exit velocity of 118.3-mph. The Yankees designated hitter has six home runs in six postseason games and has homered in four straight postseason games.
The distance and power that resonated from Stanton’s two home runs could not overshadow the collective effort it took the Rays to win Game 2. The Yankees offense fell victim to 18 strikeouts while the Rays maximized on eight hits and a pitching staff that wouldn’t rattle in tough moments.
San Cristobal, Dominican Republic native Manuel Margot powered the Rays lineup in the Wild Card round against the Toronto Blue Jays and made a point to take his talents into the batter’s box in San Diego. The 26-year-old center fielder launched a two-run home run in the bottom of the third inning off Yankees lefty J.A. Happ to help the Rays regain the lead.
Starting pitcher Tyler Glasnow’s dominant 93-pitch outing helped fuse a successful bullpen transition, as Dominican reliever Diego Castillo, Nick Anderson and Pete Fairbanks were able to hold the Yankees offense to two hits and eight strikeouts.
Much skepticism followed Aaron Boone’s decision to relieve 21-year-old Deivi Garcia in his postseason debut after one inning of work and giving up a home run to Arozarena. Happ grinded through 2.2 innings but gave up four runs on five hits, three walks and two strikeouts.
“It was a little lineup based,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said on his decision to pull García after one inning. “But then you kind of labor a little bit through that first inning, on the verge of getting out of it though two strikes there with Arozarena, when he gets him, clips him. That was the plan all along, we’re going to go short with him as long we would have Deivi available later in the series if need be to.”
Rays Charlie Morton and Yankees Masahiro Tanaka will battle it out on the mound in Game 3, in hopes of getting their team a win away from advancing to the American League Championship series. First pitch is expected for 7:10 EDT on Wednesday night at Petco Park.
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