Ryan Yarbrough
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Rays lose combined perfecto in ninth

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Just two days after the Angels pulled off an emotional combined no-hitter against the Mariners, the Rays started working on their own combined no-no. During Sunday’s series finale against the Orioles, right-hander and ‘opener’ Ryne Stanek and lefty Ryan Yarbrough tossed eight perfect innings.

Stanek took the mound for the first two innings, issuing back-to-back strikeouts to Jonathan Villar and Anthony Santander to kick off the first. He induced three straight outs in the second before handing the ball off to Yarbrough in the third, who maintained the perfecto through the next six innings with five strikeouts and 76 pitches.

Behind Stanek and Yarbrough, the Rays’ offense mustered up four runs of support following Joey Wendle‘s sacrifice fly in the second, Austin Meadow’s solo shot in the third, and a two-run bomb from Michael Brosseau in the sixth.

In the ninth, just three outs away from making history, Yarbrough lost the perfecto—and the no-hitter. The first pitch he served up—an 85.4-m.p.h. cutter in the middle of the zone—was promptly delivered to right field by Hanser Alberto; then, to add insult to injury, Stevie Wilkerson laced his own first-pitch single off of Yarbrough in the next at-bat. Yarbrough followed up the back-to-back hits with a four-pitch strikeout to Chance Sisco, his sixth of the afternoon, but then made a hasty exit from the mound as Oliver Drake came in to pitch.

Had Stanek and Yarbrough completed the feat, they would have been the first pitchers to do so for the Rays since Matt Garza tossed a no-hitter against the Tigers in 2010. It would have also marked the first combined perfect game, both in franchise history and the history of Major League Baseball as well.

Yankees place Aaron Judge (strained calf) on IL

Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports
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NEW YORK — Yankees star Aaron Judge was placed on the injured list with a right calf strain before Friday night’s game against Boston and manager Aaron Boone is optimistic the outfielder will not miss significant time.

The move was retroactive to Wednesday and Boone described the strain as mild after an MRI revealed the injury. To replace Judge on the roster, Thairo Estrada was recalled from the Yankees’ alternate site in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Judge began Friday leading the majors with nine homers and tied with Colorado’s Charlie Blackmon for the major league lead with 20 RBIs.

“It’s something that I think he really wants to try and work through here and kind of wants to be out here and feels like it’s a day-to-day thing which it may very well be, but I just think obviously it goes without saying how important a player Aaron is to us,” Boone said.

Boone had said last weekend’s series on the artificial turf in Tampa Bay took its toll on the 6-foot-7 outfielder.

Judge joined Giancarlo Stanton as the second Yankees slugger to land on the injured list this. Stanton was placed on the IL with a strained hamstring after getting hurt in the second game of last Saturday’s doubleheader.

“We’ve lost two MVP-caliber players,” Boone said. “Obviously that is a blow, especially two guys that playing well as they are right now.”

Judge was pulled for a pinch hitter during Tuesday night’s win over Atlanta and didn’t play Wednesday. The Yankees were off Thursday.

The 28-year-old All-Star missed time during July’s training camp because of a stiff neck.

The 2017 AL Rookie of the Year hit 27 homers in each of the last two seasons, both of them interrupted by injuries. His right wrist was broken when he was hit by a pitch in 2018 and he went on the injured list for two months last year with a left oblique strain.

Judge was diagnosed with a broken rib in March and would not have been ready for the season opener if the season began as scheduled on March 26.