Rays top Yanks in extra innings to move back into 1st place

Posted at 5:11 PM, May 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-18 17:11:13-04

NEW YORK — Austin Meadows homered off Luis Cessa in the 11th inning, and the Tampa Bay Rays rallied to beat the Yankees 2-1 Saturday and regain the AL East lead after dropping behind New York for a day.

New York’s bullpen retired 13 in a row before Meadows lined a slider from Cessa (0-1) into the right-field seats for his ninth homer.

Meadows saved a run in the sixth when he charged Gleyber Torres’ two-out single to left and made a one-hop throw to the plate. Catcher Erik Kratz tagged Aaron Hicks, who tried to score from second and ran past third base coach Phil Nevin’s stop sign.

Masahiro Tanaka outpitched AL Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell for the second time in less than a week and was provided a lead when Snell threw a run-scoring wild pitch in the third.

Tanaka left with a bruised shin after a grounder up the middle in the sixth. Brandon Lowe tied the score in the seventh, homering on the second pitch from reliever Tommy Kahnle.

Hunter Wood (1-0) pitched a perfect 11th in his first appearance since May 1 following a stint on the injured list caused by right shoulder soreness.

A day after failing to hold a two-run lead in the ninth, José Alvarado gave up a leadoff single to Luke Voit in the bottom half. Hicks struck out, and Gary Sánchez, who had struck out four times, grounded into a game-ending double play. Alvarado got his fifth save in six chances.

Tanaka allowed three hits in six scoreless innings, struck out six and walked none, his splitter sharp for the second straight outing.

Ji-Man Choi doubled with two outs on the sixth and Yandy Diaz followed with a hard grounder up the middle that seemed destined to become an RBI single. Tanaka spun at the end of his delivery, and the ball ricocheted off the pitcher’s right shin directly to Voit, who stepped on first. The Yankees said X-rays of Tanaka’s shin were negative.

Snell struggled early with a high pitch count but then got into a groove and gave up one run and six hits in six innings. He struck out nine, raising his total to 21 in 11 2/3 innings against the Yankees over the two starts.

He was pitching to his fourth catcher in five starts, and the Yankees went ahead in the third when Snell bounced a 1-1 changeup to Gary Sánchez past Kratz with the bases loaded. Kratz was obtained Thursday from San Francisco.

Alvarado’s wild pitch on Friday night allowed the tying run to score as New York rallied for three runs in the ninth and a 4-3 win,