Tampa, Fla., February 27, 2020; Yankees 7, Tampa Bay 1 — The toughest thing about describing the Yankees’ 7-1 victory over visiting Tampa Bay Thursday is picking the aspect that pleased most. The offense trumped Wednesday’s three-double attack by clearing three fences; two ready-for-prime pitchers and two of the knocking-on-the-door variety shut down the visitors over nine frames, and all this was accomplished in a neat, no-nonsense two hours and 18 minutes.
While the Rays reached J.A. Happ for a run on two hits in the first, one was a bloop opposite-field double. Happ went three, and Michael King, Clarke Schmidt, and Jonathan Loaisiga went two apiece. The visitors did scratch out seven hits, but twice they had two in scoreless frames in which solid “D” helped keep them off the board. Yankee pitching allowed no walks and recorded nine strike outs, four by Loaisiga closing out the game.
And the Bombers did not trail long after the first-inning Rays tally. Luke Voit reached on a one-out walk, and the Yanks leaped to a 3-1 first-inning lead on back-to-back home runs by Tyler Wade and Clint Frazier, who batted cleanup and played right field. Frazier, who is locked in, also walked, and Mike Ford, who came on in the seventh, closed the scoring with a two-run shot in the eighth. Earlier, Zack Granite’s double keyed a two-run uprising in the home fourth.
The Wednesday rain was gone and the game was played under delightful, mostly sunny skies. There’s a “but,” however. If you were not in the sun, you were freezing. But the clouds moved aside and let us warm up most of the day. Also warming were a couple of standout defensive plays in the infield, which helped keep the Rays off the board following the first. In the third, 10-year free agent and new to the Yankees family Rosell Herrera made the kind of stab at third base that make “the hot corner” hot. And later second baseman Thairo Estrada utilized a full-body dive to prevent a base hit almost behind first base.
These were tidy little bows on the present the Yankees gave their fans on this day. And that they did it in 2:18? My reply to them:
Shucks, you shouldn’t have.