Luke Voit and Gleyber Torres each had home runs as the New York Yankees forced a Game 5 with the Tampa Bay Rays.
The New York Yankees entered Game 4 with their backs against the wall and walked off of a more level field a few hours later.
Luke Voit broke out of a miniature slump with a long solo home run and Gleyber Torres followed with a two-run blast of his own. New York’s pitching also came through as Jordan Montgomery threw four solid innings of one-run ball, and the bullpen did the rest.
Aroldis Chapman recorded a four-out save as the Yankees won 5-1 and forced a decisive Game 5.
New York must win
New York Yankees fans did not enter Game 4 with optimism. After manager Aaron Boone’s gamble on Deivi Garcia opening for J.A. Happ failed in Game 2, Masahiro Tanaka got lit up in Game 3.
Enter Jordan Montgomery, who was 2-3 with a 5.11 ERA in 2020 and hadn’t pitched since Sept. 24. Additionally, Montgomery faced the Rays on Sept. 2 and allowed four earned runs in less than an inning of work. This time, however, he threw just eight pitches in the first inning.
Luke Voit, who had yet to hit a postseason home run in his career, then rewarded the big lefty accordingly with a 453-foot solo home run.
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New York soon added a second run before chasing opener Ryan Thompson. Tampa Bay got a run back in the third, but Montgomery held the lead. The bullpens then traded jabs before Gleyber Torres stepped up to bat in the sixth inning.
In his previous at-bat, Torres fouled a ball off of his calf before flying out to deep center. This time, against lefty sinkerballer Ryan Yarbrough, he proved his leg was just fine.
Little breathing room from Gleyber Torres. Woo #NYYforNY pic.twitter.com/OB6Gx87yai
— ESNY (@EliteSportsNY) October 9, 2020
Kyle Higashioka then added an insurance run on an RBI single in the eighth inning to pad the lead. In an absolute must-win game, the New York Yankees banded together and forced Game 5 with a quietly good performance. Despite hitting 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position, the Bronx Bombers lived up to their name when it mattered most.
Chad Green pitched two scoreless innings with two strikeouts, while lefty Zack Britton added 1.2 of his own. With ace Gerrit Cole starting Game 5 on Friday, Boone will need to be careful not to be too aggressive when calling on his big arm. That said, Garcia also hasn’t pitched since Game 2, so look for his name to be called.
Rays outfielder Randy Arozarena has been a thorn in the New York Yankees’ side all series. Entering Game 4, he was batting .666 with three solo home runs in the Division Series. In Game 4, the Yankees pitched him further down on the zone, and he was 0-for-4 with a pair of strikeouts. Look for pitching coach Matt Blake to utilize a similar strategy in Game 5.
Game 5 is slated for Friday at 7:10 p.m. ET on TBS. The Yankees will send Gerrit Cole (7-3, 2.84 ERA) to the mound, while Tampa Bay will go with Tyler Glasnow.