Sergio Romo struck out rookie Gleyber Torres for the final out of the eighth inning and escaped trouble in the ninth inning as the host Tampa Bay Rays held on for a 3-2 victory over the New York Yankees Wednesday afternoon at Tropicana Field.
Romo entered the game after Jose Alvarado allowed a leadoff walk to Brett Gardner and a single to Didi Gregorius, putting runners at first and third with one out. After Romo allowed Giancarlo Stanton’s sacrifice fly to center field to cut the Rays’ lead to 3-2, the right-hander won an eight-pitch encounter with Torres, who was activated from the disabled list before the game following a three-week absence due to a hip injury.
Torres reached a full count by laying off two sliders but Romo won the encounter by getting the second baseman to swing and miss at an inside four-seam fastball.
Romo was the fifth of six pitchers used by the Rays after originally scheduled starter Nathan Eovaldi was traded to the Boston Red Sox for Jalen Beeks about 80 minutes before first pitch. Instead, the Rays employed an “opener” for the 22nd opener.
Ryne Stanek made his 14th “start” and allowed a hit while throwing 22 pitches in the first inning. Jaime Schultz allowed a sacrifice fly to Neil Walker in the second and allowed a hit in three innings.
Diego Castillo (2-1) pitched two scoreless innings and Alvarado recorded four outs before Romo entered. Romo moved to third base as left-hander Jonny Venters faced left-handed-hitting Greg Bird to lead off the ninth.
After Venters, as Tampa’s sixth pitcher, retired Bird, Romo moved back to the mound but allowed an infield single to Miguel Andujar. After third baseman Matt Duffy dropped Daniel Robertson’s throw on a double-play grounder hit by Aaron Hicks, pinch hitter Austin Romine fouled out to right field and Romo struck out Gardner on a full count to end it.
It was Romo’s 12th save.
Kevin Kiermaier hit a two-run homer off Luis Cessa in the sixth and C.J. Cron hit a solo homer off Jonathan Holder three batters later as the Rays improved to 9-3 in their last 12 home games against the Yankees.
Cessa (1-2) made his third start and took the rotation spot previously occupied by Domingo German. Cessa allowed two runs on four hits in 5 1/3 innings.
After the Yankees took a 1-0 lead, Kiermaier made it 2-1 when he lifted a 2-1 changeup into the right-field seats for his third homer. Three batters after Kiermaier’s third homer, Cron made it 3-1 when he drove Jonathan Holder’s full-count fastball just over the left-center field fence for his 20th home run of the season.
—Field Level Media