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Evil Empire Too Strong For Rays Rookies, Yankees Win 5-4

The game of baseball is a funny thing. Sunday night it took 16 innings for the Tampa Bay Rays to accumulate three hits off of almost Boston's entire pitching staff, while only walking once and scoring 0 runs. Monday, with the New York Yankees in town, and AJ Burnett on the hill, it took only 11 pitches to match the hit total, the walk total, and for fun they threw in two runs. A Johnny Damon walk, a Ben Zobrist single, and an absolute laser gapper double by Evan Longoria put the Rays on the board. Longoria would later score on a Burnett throwing error giving the Rays a very quick early lead.

After surrendering an unearned run in the top half of the first, rookie pitcher Alex Cobb would settle in for the next 5 innings, going 6 strong and holding down the fearsome Yankee lineup, surrendering just two runs on three hits while walking four and striking out 3. Cobb would leave in position to earn the win but a shaky bullpen performance would quickly erase any hopes of that.

In the eighth inning, Cesar Ramos would get himself into a spot of trouble after surrendering a lead off single to Robinson Cano and subsequently walking Nick Swisher. After an Andruw Jones fly out, Ramos was replaced by Kyle Farnsworth attempting to make a 5 out save less than 24 hours after he escaped a bases loaded jam against the Boston Red Sox in the 9th inning of Sundays 16 inning marathon game. Farnsworth would induce three straight ground balls to Russell Martin, Brett Gardner, and Edwardo Nunez yet managed to turn them into only one out as the Yankees plated two runs and tied the game at 4 a piece. The key play in the sequence was Brett Gardner's hard take out slide of Sean Rodriguez that prevented a strong throw to turn a double play on a Nunez ground ball, the throw sailed wide and Nunez would be safe with the game tying RBI. Farsnworth struck out Mr. 3000, Derek Jeter to end the inning.

With the bullpen entirely taxed from the Sunday Night outing, Joe Maddon was forced to turn to rookie Alex Torres in the 9th inning as he was the only remaining reliever available to pitch. Torres, fresh off his plane ride from Durham allowed a lead off single to Curtis Granderson but rebound to get Teixeira and Cano out on a strike out and ground out, which combined with a steal of second would move Granderson to third. Nick Swisher was then intentionally walked, a somewhat befuddling decision with two outs and Jones (a certified lefty killer) on deck. Torres went on to walk Jones to load the bases and then walk in Russell Martin for the game winning run.

Torres was optioned back to Triple AAA Durham Bulls after the game and will be replaced by another pitcher sometime Tuesday, most likely Dane De La Rosa. Robinson Chrinios made his major league debut at catcher and doubled in his first at bat. Tuesday night will see Bartolo Colon face off against Jeremy Hellickson who will be making his first start in 16 days.

Final - 7.18.2011 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
New York Yankees 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 2 1 5 8 1
Tampa Bay Rays 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 9 1
WP: David Robertson (3 - 0)
SV: Mariano Rivera (24)
LP: Alexander Torres (0 - 1)

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Photographs by, thelastminute, turtlemom nancy , fesek, kthypryn, justinwright, sue_elias, pointnshoot, and scrapstothefuture used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.