THE BRONX – J.A. Happ pitched like an ace Tuesday night, allowing just one hit (but four walks) over seven stellar innings to the Tampa Bay Rays.
Those four walks came in the first four innings of work for Happ, who did not allow a hit until C.J. Cron singled in the fourth. Happ struckout four Rays hitters, and got that many both of groundouts and flyouts. He has a 1.89 ERA since joining the Yankees.
In the first inning, the Yanks were able to post a run on opener Hunter Wood. Giancarlo Stanton flipped a double into the right-field gap, then moved to third when shortstop Willy Adames could not handle a pickoff throw from Jesús Sucre. Sucre tried to catch Stanton napping but only caught Adames in that state. After the E6, Aaron Hicks blooped a single between Adames, Joey Wendle and Carlos Gómez for an RBI single.
The Yankees were then flummoxed by Jalen Beeks, whom the Rays acquired from the Red Sox for Nathan Eovaldi, until the fifth inning. Neil Walker led off with a walk, then Austin Romine ambushed a first-pitch fastball for a two-run home run that just stayed fair inside the right-field line. It was the eighth homer of the year for Romine, whose 111 wRC+ makes him a top-5 catcher in the American League (minimum 150 plate appearances).
The Rays got their one run on the first pitch by a Yankee reliever, as Happ exited in favor of Dellin Betances to begin the eighth inning. Adames atoned for his error by ambushing a first-pitch fastball for the first homered allowed by Betances since May 10.
That run was won back by the Yanks in their next set of at-bats. Miguel Andújar doubled with two outs, and Greg Bird doubled next to score pinch-runner Shane Robinson. Aroldis Chapman pitched a nine-pitch ninth for his 31st save, working around a two-out single by Wendle for a simple save.