Kevin Kiermaier hit a tiebreaking three-run homer in the fourth inning and Charlie Morton pitched five solid innings as the Tampa Bay Rays posted an 8-4 victory over the New York Yankees on Wednesday night in San Diego to take a two games to one lead in an American League Division Series.
The top-seeded Rays can secure their second trip to the American League Championship Series on Thursday in Game 4 of the best-of-five set. Tampa Bay's other ALCS appearance came in 2008, when they eventually lost in the World Series.
Rays left fielder Randy Arozarena homered, had three hits and reached base four times. Arozarena, who did not make his 2020 debut until Aug. 30, joined Evan Longoria (2008) and Kyle Schwarber (2015) as the third rookie to hit at least one homer in three consecutive postseason games.
He also joined Longoria and Carlos Pena (2008) as the only Tampa Bay players to go deep in three straight playoff contests. Longoria's streak reached four games.
Michael Perez hit an RBI single and a two-run homer while Ji-Man Choi contributed an RBI double for the Rays, who collected 13 hits and knocked out Masahiro Tanaka early.
Kiermaier said, "This is Rays baseball at it's finest. We sit here and talk about never depending on one person each and every night. ... You never know who is going to be the hero, who is going to step up with the big strikeout, the big hit, the big defensive play. We showed that tonight."
New York designated hitter Giancarlo Stanton socked a two-run homer in the eighth, his sixth homer of the postseason in five games.
Aaron Judge hit a bases-loaded sacrifice fly in the third and Aaron Hicks hit an RBI double in the fifth for the Yankees, who will start Jordan Montgomery in Game 4.
Morton (1-0), who beat the Yankees in Game 7 of the 2017 ALCS while with the Houston Astros, allowed two runs (one earned) on four hits. The veteran right-hander struck out six, walked two and threw 86 pitches.
Right-hander John Curtiss followed with 1 2/3 scoreless innings before lefty Shane McClanahan served up Stanton's two-run shot in his 1 1/3 innings. One of those two runs was unearned.
Diego Castillo tossed a 1-2-3 ninth inning in a non-save situation.
Tanaka (0-1) allowed five runs on eight hits in four-plus innings. He struck out four, walked one and threw 73 pitches.
Stanton said of the Yankees' state entering Game 4, "It's win now, win or go home ... you gotta show up. We gotta play out. ... We gotta come out swinging."
--Field Level Media
|Tampa Bay||NY Yankees|
|Charlie Morton||Player||Masahiro Tanaka|