New York Yankees
(Photo by Joseph Garnett Jr./Getty Images)

With the bullpen pitching the entire game, the New York Yankees defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 4-1.

  • New York Yankees: 4 (96-60)
  • Tampa Bay Rays: 1 (87-69)
  • AL East, Final, Box Score
  • Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, FL

The Tampa Bay Rays have caused a buzz this year with their strategy of using an opener for one or two innings before bringing in a traditional starting pitcher. On Sept. 24, the New York Yankees gave the Rays a taste of their own medicine by using Jonathan Holder to open a 4-1 victory.

Aaron Boone didn’t follow the Rays strategy too closely, though. He pieced together the entire game with his bullpen, using eight total pitchers.

The longest appearance came from Sonny Gray, who threw two innings.

The Rays also deployed an opener in Diego Castillo. He pitched two innings, Hunter Wood pitched the third inning, and Ryan Yarbrough pitched five innings. Jaime Shultz pitched a 1-2-3 ninth.

Andrew McCutchen started the scoring with a home run to left field in the top of the third. The Rays tied it up on a run-scoring double play in the bottom of the fourth, helped by a Gary Sanchez passed-ball that moved a runner to third base.

Sanchez finished the game with two passed balls to bring his league-leading total to 17.

The Yankees took back the lead on a Brett Gardner RBI single. Gardner then scored from first on a Giancarlo Stanton double.

Gardner came in for Aaron Hicks, who injured his left hamstring running out a grounder in the first inning.

He also made a lead-saving catch in the bottom of the sixth inning.

The Yankees added another insurance run on back-to-back doubles by McCutchen and Aaron Judge in the bottom of the seventh.

There’s no news yet on the severity of the Hicks injury. After potentially losing Didi Gregorius for the rest of the year, the Yankees can hardly afford to lose their starting center fielder as well.

The win gave the Yankees a two-game lead over Oakland in the Wild Card, but an A’s win against Seattle would keep the differential at a precarious 1.5 games.

Freelance editor and writer, and full-time Yankees fan. Originally from Monticello, NY, but now lives in Kaohsiung, Taiwan.