A Golden Opportunity Nick'd

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Greg Bird crushes a long home run over the center-field wall to drive in two and give the Yankees a 3-2 lead in the 4th inning at Tropicana Field on September 15, 2015

Game 144 / 79-65 / 2nd / -3 GB : With a golden opportunity to pick up a critical game in the standings, the Yankees were done in by a bench player hitting .133, who doubled his season home run output with one swing of the bat. As Atlanta shocked the world with a 3-2 win over Toronto, New York failed to protect a 4-3 lead, and remained 3 games back in the AL East. Wasted were booming home runs from Alex Rodriguez and Greg Bird, as reliever Nick Rumbelow grooved one to light-biting Nick Franklin for a 2-run blast that gave Tampa a 5-4 lead.

Here’s the box score, full recap, and video highlights.

Rays 6, Yankees 3

Bird’s Go-Ahead Blast

  • An Adam Warren Sighting   Finally back in the rotation and on a short leash in terms of pitch count, Warren worked through some rust but after a 4-inning stint managed to hand a lead over the bullpen.
  • Bird Blast   The rookie first-baseman’s rocket in the 4th inning that gave New York the lead was on the 11th pitch of the at-bat. Starter Jake Odorizzi threw nothing but fastballs and tried to paint the corner with the last one, but it caught enough of the plate for Bird to turn on it — big time.
  • Home Run #32/686   Alex Rodriguez got the Yankees on the board early with a big fly to right center in the first, which also moved him past Craig Biggio for 21st place on the all-time hits list with 3,061.

“It’s tough that we’re not able to hold them down.” ‐ Joe Girardi  (h/t: Chad Jennings/LoHud)

MEMORY LANE : On today’s date in 1985, the Yankees acquired Joe Niekro from the Houston Astos for Jim Deshaies, minor leaguers Neder Horta and Dody Rather (minors) …

On today’s date in 1950, Johnny Mize hits three home runs in one game for the sixth time in his career‚ establishing a major league record. The first baseman’s offensive output, which makes him the second player to accomplish a three-homer game in both leagues along with Babe Ruth, isn’t enough when the Yankees lose at Detroit, 9-7 …

(h/t: NationalPastime.com, Baseball-Reference.com, Today in Baseball History)
 

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