Yankees split series with Rays after losing 8-7

Michael Bennington
Sunday May 14, 2023

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New York Yankees 7, Tampa Bay Rays 8

NEW YORK — Taylor Walls hit a grand slam in the fifth inning to break a tie. Aaron Judge’s fly ball was caught by Jose Siri in front of the center-field wall for the last out, and the Tampa Bay Rays beat the New York Yankees 8-7 on Sunday to split the four-game series.

Walls didn’t hit a double in any of his first five games against New York, so he didn’t get the cycle. Tampa Bay is the best team in the major league, and they are 4-3 against the Yankees. Six of those games were won by just one run. The next time the teams play each other is on July 31.

In the third inning, Oswaldo Cabrera and Anthony Rizzo each hit a two-run home run against Zach Eflin (5-1) to put the Yankees ahead.

“Disappointing to not finish it off today, but I feel very pleased with where this group is at,” New York manager Aaron Boone said.

Clarke Schmidt (1-4) gave up a five-run inning in which Randy Arozarena hit a sacrifice fly that tied the game with the bases full. Centerfielder Harrison Bader ran 91 feet at a speed of 28.7 feet per second to make a leaping, backhand catch in front of the 399-foot sign that saved two runs.

Albert Abreu came in for Josh Lowe after he walked. He gave Walls four changeups in a row, and Walls hit the last one into the first row of seats in right-center field, close to the Yankee dugout, giving the Yankees an 8-4 lead. This season, Tampa Bay has hit four grand slams after hitting one for the second day in a row.

Walls’ grand slam was the best part of his third three-hit game out of 31 this year. In his first 196 games, he had two such games.

Plate umpire Mike Muchlinski threw out Yankees pitching coach Matt Blake for arguing from the bench after the home run.

In the seventh, Judge hit a single that drove in a run, and in the eighth, youngster Anthony Volpe hit a two-run homer off Trevor Kelley. It was Volpe’s sixth home run of the season and his third in five games.

The game was over when Judge hit a fly ball 399 feet away, giving Adam his fifth save. The relief put a glove over his heart and tapped it when Siri caught the ball.

Judge hit the ball into a wind of 10 mph.

“I hit it good but off the bat I hit it too high, especially you know how deep it is out there,” Judge said. “I’m kind of praying for a miracle once it got up there.”

Issac Paredes’ RBI single and Brandon Lowe’s groundout in the first and sacrifice fly in the third gave Tampa Bay a 3-0 lead. Yandy Diaz scored on a groundout by Lowe. Diaz left the game with tightness in his left groin and will get an MRI on Monday, which is a day off.

In six innings, Elfin gave up four runs, seven hits, and nine outs. He gave up both home runs after Volpe hit a ball back at him and it hit his thigh.

Schmidt, who had just won his first game as a starter, gave up seven runs and six hits in 4 2/3 innings, which was a career high.


The Yankees will start a four-game series against Toronto on Monday.

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