Seven takeaways from Wednesday's game
1. Masahiro Tanaka started off hot, striking out the first two batters he faced. But he struggled in his next six batters. In that span, he allowed four hits, including a second-inning RBI single by Michael Perez that was just off the glove of DJ LeMahieu to give the Rays an early 1-0 lead. The lead could have been more had it not been for Aaron Judge’s potentially run-saving snowcone grab in the first inning.
2. Charlie Morton retired the first seven batters he faced before Brett Gardner and Kyle Higashioka had back-to-back one-out singles in the third inning. After LeMahieu walked, Judge recorded a sac fly to tie the game at one. With the bases loaded, Luke Voit grounded out - and probably was robbed of an RBI walk on a questionable call.
3. After starting the fourth inning with a single and a walk, Kevin Kiermaier took Tanaka deep into right field for a three-run blast. On the pitch prior, what should have been a strike-him-out, throw-him-out was wrongly called ball four. Instead of no one on and two outs, the Yankees trailed 4-1.
4. Barry Bon - or rather - Randy Arozarena took Tanaka deep on the first pitch of the fifth inning, ending his night. After not allowing more than two earned runs in his first seven postseason starts, he has allowed at least three in each of his last three - Tanaka owns a 9.69 ERA (14 earned runs/13 innings) in his last three postseason outings.
5. Aaron Hicks cut the Rays’ lead to 5-2 with a two-out RBI double in the fifth inning, but a Voit flyout to center field ended the threat. Ultimately, the Yankees two runs on hour hits while walking once and striking out six times in five innings against Morton.
6. Perez got that run back, and then some, with a two-run blast on an 0-2 pitch in the top of the sixth inning that knocked Chad Green out of the game. Since Game 2, the Yankees’ 7-9 hitters are (1-for-10), while the Rays’ 7-9 hitters are (2-for-8) with three home runs. Choi tacked on another run with an RBI double off of Luis Cessa.
7. Giancarlo Stanton stayed hot, blasting a two-run shot in the eighth inning. He now has six home runs in five postseason games, hitting at least one in each game. He is the first Yankee ever with a home run in five straight postseason games.
Jordan Montgomery will toe the rubber and try to save the Yankees’ season, while Tampa's starter to send them to their first ALCS since 2008 is TBD.