Matt Joyce and offseason acquisition Luke Scott drove in three runs apiece as the Tampa Bay Rays knocked off the New York Yankees 8-6 on Saturday night in front of another sellout crowd at Tropicana Field.
The Rays never trailed in the game, scoring in each of the first three innings and building a 4-0 lead. Scott had a two-run single in the first, Carlos Pena drove in a run in the second with another base hit, and Matt Joyce led off the bottom of the third with a solo home run.
In the seventh inning, Evan Longoria had an apparent home run overruled when a confused fan in a Rays hat and Yankees jersey reached over the right-field fence to steal the ball away. Not to worry, though, because Joyce singled to left to score Pena and Longoria to extend Tampa Bay's lead to 8-2.
David Price picked up the win for the Rays, pitching 6 1/3 innings and allowing just two earned runs and five hits. Price struck out five, but struggled a bit with his control. He walked four, threw a wild pitch, and only got 38 of his 75 fastballs over for strikes. Fortunately he was able to consistently get out of jams and stay out of major trouble.
The Yankees rallied in the ninth inning. Curtis Granderson was given a triple when Joyce, unfamiliar with left field, misplayed a long fly ball that ricocheted off his glove. Raul Ibanez hit a sacrifice fly to score Granderson, and then with two runners on and two outs, Nick Swisher hit a towering three-run homer to right field off Joel Peralta to cut New York's deficit to 8-6. Robinson Cano then drew a walk off Jake McGee to bring the tying run to the plate. But Fernando Rodney retired Alex Rodriguez with one pitch, as he grounded out to second to end the game.
Tampa Bay will look for a three-game sweep of this opening series on Sunday afternoon at 1:40pm Eastern time. Jeremy Hellickson takes the ball for the Rays, while the Yankees counter with Phil Hughes.