Randy Arozarena and Yandy Diaz each hit their ninth home run of the season Friday night at Tropicana Field, but it was Wander Franco’s RBI double in the bottom of the seventh that would break a 4-4 tie and give the Tampa Bay Rays a 5-4 win over the New York Yankees.
With the Rays holding “Randy Land” in left field for its official debut, Arozarena treated all the fans in the section to a free drink thanks to his solo homer in the bottom of the first inning off Yankees starter Jhony Brito.
— Rays Radio (@RaysRadio) May 5, 2023
”We kind of expect Randy to step up in big moments, and he did, and he delivered” reliever Colin Poche said after the game. “To hit a home run in his first at-bat with the Randy Land thing going on is pretty on brand for him.”
Tampa Bay would go up 2-0 in the second thanks to a sacrifice fly by Jose Siri, and Diaz’s solo shot in the third pushed the lead to 3-0 before Harold Ramirez’s fielder’s choice would bring in Franco for a 4-0 advantage later in the inning.
Arozarena would be hit on the elbow by Brito on the first pitch of his at-bat in that inning, and Albert Abreu would also hit Arozarena in the ribs on his first offering in the fifth. The umpires would then issue warnings and Rays manager Kevin Cash would be ejected for arguing about the warnings.
”He said that half the crew did not feel that it was intentional,” Cash said of umpire Lance Barksdale’s decision to not warn both sides until the second time Arozarena was hit. “And I said I didn’t give a shit what half the crew said.”
But it would be the Yankees who looked motivated after the ejection, as starter Yonny Chirinos gave up a RBI double to Gleyber Torres in the sixth and later in the inning, reliever Garrett Cleavinger saw Harrison Badger hit a game-tying three run homer off him to knot the game back up.
Tampa Bay was able to get out of that inning with the game still tied, and in the bottom of the seventh, after a Siri walk and Diaz fielder’s choice, Franco laced a Jimmy Cordero pitch to left that former Ray Jake Bauers could not handle. Diaz came around from first base to score, though the home plate umpire initially called him out and had to be overturned on replay.
Turns out, not everyone can flip the ball to themselves and still get the out pic.twitter.com/aEhlO295Zv
— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) May 6, 2023
Poche would work out of a jam in the eighth, striking out Isiah Kiner-Falefa to strand potential tying and go-ahead runs in scoring position. Jason Adam worked a scoreless ninth to earn his third save.