The Tampa Bay Rays (74-54) were able to take care of business this weekend with a packed house at Tropicana Field. The Rays took the series taking two of three games against the New York Yankees (69-61) this weekend. Tampa Bay has taken five straight series once again. Everything went according to plan this weekend starting with a home run derby on Friday night and followed by a comeback from behind victory on Saturday. The Rays just missed the sweep on Sunday as the game went into extras and the bullpen gave it up. Evan Longoria continues to stay hot as he homered in all three games this weekend. He is totally capable of carrying this team the next month but will definitely a little help. If the Rays can just get Wil Myers and Longoria on the same page this would be a deadly combination.
The Rays have a makeup game on Monday in Kansas City against the Royals (65-64) and then head back home to face the Los Angeles Angels (58-71) on Tuesday for a three-game series. Myers is making his debut in Kansas City on Monday. This is the team who traded him away in the blockbuster trade this offseason that included James Shields and Wade Davis. Jeremy Hellickson will be on the hill today for the Rays. Tampa Bay need to become better with runners in scoring position. Many times they could have busted the game open this weekend but were one critical hit shy.
Alex Cobb worked into the sixth on Sunday and Rays' hitters could not collect that timely hit to win the game against the Yankees. The Rays had bases loaded in the first inning but could only mustard one run out of it. Longoria's home run in the sixth tied the ball game 2-2 as he was responsible for knocking in both of the Rays runs. The game then remained tied into the 11th until the Yankees were able to score and take the 3-2 win in front of a sellout crowd and avoid the sweep.
David Price looked great once again on Saturday night in front of 32,000 fans. He only gave up two runs giving his team a chance. Tampa Bay always seems to see the ball well off CC Sabathia and the Rays were able to rack up three runs in the sixth inning and take the 3-2 lead. A double by Ben Zobrist and single by Longoria led the way. Evan Longoria then hit a solo shot once again in the 8th to add an insurance run. Rodney was able to save the game and Tampa Bay held on 4-2 to take the series on Saturday. The Red Sox had won earlier that day so they remained tied heading into Sunday's game.
On Friday it turned into a home run derby contest with four homers by the Rays' players. Jose Lobaton jumped on the first pitch he saw to give the Rays a 3-1 lead. Matt Joyce and Evan Longoria decided to go back-to-back in the third inning. Ben Zobrist tacked on another as the Rays beat up on the Yankees and took the 7-2 victory. Jose Lobaton has been playing out of this world lately and sure has been getting his share of ice cream this last week or so. Chris Archer collected the victory and pitched well working into the seventh inning allowing only four hits. The Boston Red Sox lost later that night and the Rays were able to get back in first place heading into Saturday.
Tampa Bay just needs to keep it up and continue to pump out wins with quality pitching, spectacular defense and quality at bats. If the Rays continue to win each series they will be fine as they are only one game back of the Boston Red Sox (77-55) in American League East. Tampa Bay only plays the Red Sox three more times this season. This series is coming in mid-September at the Trop and the Rays are (43-24) at home. This is going to the biggest series this season if it remains this close between these two ball clubs the rest of the way.