Rays stave off elimination with late rally


Things appeared bleak when Ian Kinsler homered in the top of the seventh to give the Rangers a 2-1 lead and knock Matt Garza out of the game, but the Rays came back Saturday night and won Game 3 in Texas on the strength of some timely hitting and a fine performance from their bullpen.
Tampa Bay went on top in the eighth with a rally that started on a one-out double from Dan Johnson. Carlos Pena singled in pinch-runner Desmond Jennings to tie the game off Darren Oliver. The Rangers then went to Darren O’Day, who struck out B.J. Upton for the second out of the inning. Oddly, that was it for O’Day. Even though manager Ron Washington was already deep into his pen, he decided to go to Neftali Feliz in the tie game. Feliz, who was also shaky in Game 1, walked Jason Bartlett and then gave up a go-ahead single to John Jaso before getting out of the inning.
After that, there was more stellar work from the Tampa Bay bullpen and finally some power from the Rays. Joaquin Benoit, pitching against his former club, worked 1 2/3 scoreless innings for the win. Carl Crawford and Carlos Pena homered in the top of the ninth to make it a 6-2 contest and sap the drama from the bottom of the ninth. The Rangers though did get a solo homer for Nelson Cruz before the game ended at 6-3.
The Rangers will again try to finish off the Rays on Sunday, when they’ll throw right-hander Tommy Hunter. The Rays are set to counter with rookie Wade Davis.

Photo of the Day: Colby Rasmus just wants to love on everybody

Colby Rasmus
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Colby Rasmus hit a big home run last night to set off the scoring and to set the tone for the Astros.

After the game he spoke to Jeff Passan of Yahoo and voiced some nice perspective and maturity as well, acknowledging that his time and St. Louis and Toronto left him with a reputation that he’d rather not have follow him around forever, saying “I don’t want them to say Colby Rasmus was a piece of crap because he had all of this time and just wanted to be a douche. I just try to love on everybody.”

Fair. By the way, this is what Rasmus looked like either just before or just after telling reporters that he “just tries to love on everybody.”


Ready for some lovin’?

There’s no one to blame in Yankees’ loss

Joe Girardi

You’re going to boo All-Star Brett Gardner for striking out against a Cy Young contender?

You’re going to bash Alex Rodriguez for going hitless in another postseason game, three years after his last one?

Maybe you’d prefer to put it all on Masahiro Tanaka for giving up two solo homers to a lineup full of 20-homer guys?

The truth is that the Yankees were supposed to lose tonight. They were facing an outstanding left-hander with their forever-lefty-heavy lineup, and they simply didn’t have anyone pitching like an ace to set themselves up nicely for a one-game, winner-take-all showdown. The 3-0 result… well, that’s how this was supposed to go down.

It didn’t necessarily mean it would; what fun would it be if the better team always won? And the Astros might not even be a better team than the Yankees. However, the Astros with Dallas Keuchel on the mound were certainly a better team than the Yankees with whoever they picked to throw.

I just don’t see where it’s worth putting any blame tonight. Joe Girardi? He could have started John Ryan Murphy over Brian McCann against the tough lefty, but he wasn’t willing to risk Tanaka losing his comfort zone by using a backup catcher.

The front office could have added more talent, perhaps outbidding the Blue Jays for David Price or the Royals for Johnny Cueto, and set themselves up better for the postseason. However, that would have cost them Luis Severino and/or Greg Bird, both of whom went on to play key roles as the Yankees secured the wild card. Would it really have been worth it? I don’t think so.

Tanaka gave the Yankees what they should have expected. Had Keuchel’s stuff been a little off on short rest, Tanaka’s performance would have kept the Yankees in the game.

Keuchel, though, was on his game from the first pitch. The Astros bullpen might have been a bit more vulnerable, and late at-bats from Gardner, Carlos Beltran, Rodriguez and McCann definitely left something to be desired. Still, on the whole, the lack of offense was quite a team effort.

The Yankees got beat by a better team tonight.  I’m not sure the Astros would have been better in Games 2-7 in a longer series, but they had everything in their favor in this one.