NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Clint Frazier hit a game-ending, two-run homer with two outs in the 11th inning after making a game-saving catch in the eighth, and the slumping New York Yankees beat the rival Tampa Bay Rays 5-3 Tuesday night.
The righty-hitting Frazier turned on a slider from right-hander Andrew Kittredge (5-1) and stood at the plate to admire the drive, capping a tight finish in which both teams came up short on potential rallies.
One of those stalled efforts came in the eighth, when Frazier dove and needed every inch of his mitt to catch Joey Wendle’s soft-hit liner to strand two.
Later, Frazier. pic.twitter.com/o29NqJlG2I
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) June 2, 2021
New York ended a four-game slide and beat Tampa Bay in the Bronx for the second time in 11 tries since the start of last season. The AL East-leading Rays remained 4 1/2 games ahead of the Yankees with two games left in this four-game series.
Tampa Bay had held New York to three or fewer runs in seven straight matchups and won nine straight against division foes.
The Yankees offense has struggled so mightily, hitting coach Marcus Thames joked before the game he has bags under his eyes from a series of sleepless nights. With just six hits, this was hardly a clean breakthrough, but New York also drew seven walks to eke out a tight win over a division rival.
After slowly jogging around the bases on his homer, Frazier tossed his helmet like a pull-up jumper as he neared teammates waiting at home plate, then jumped with them after his second career walk-off homer. His other came as a rookie in 2017.
Frazier’s homer lifted his batting average to .185 during a difficult season. It was only his fifth homer and first since May 16.
“It’s been a long season,” Frazier said. “But the people in here believe in me.”
Luis Cessa (1-0) quickly worked through a perfect top of the 11th, the last of seven Yankees pitchers to combine on a three-hitter. The bullpen accounted for six hitless innings.
After Yankees reliever Lucas Luetge quickly blanked Tampa Bay in the top of the 10th, New York loaded the bases with two outs but left them that way when Gary Sánchez struck out.
The Yankees catcher was also thrown out after a baserunning blunder in the eighth and made a pair of defensive miscues — an airmailed throw on a stolen base attempt and a sloppy stab at a blockable wild pitch that let a runner advance.
Both teams had chances in the late innings.
Brett Gardner and Frazier drew two-out walks for New York in the ninth against Pete Fairbanks but were stranded when slumping DJ LeMahieu stung a line drive right at second baseman Brandon Lowe. The normally stoic LeMahieu flung his arms in the air when the ball was caught, then slammed his helmet in the dugout.
Rays reliever J.P. Feyereisen left two Yankees aboard in the bottom of the inning, getting pinch-hitter Giancarlo Stanton to ground out to short.
Tampa Bay ace Tyler Glasnow covered seven innings and was pulled from a 3-3 game after throwing 100 pitches. He struck out eight and allowed four hits and two walks — including a bases-loaded free pass to Aaron Judge in the third. He also threw a wild pitch that allowed DJ LeMahieu to score from third base.
Austin Meadows and Kevin Kiermaier homered off Yankees starter Domingo Germán during a back-and-forth first half of the game. Miguel Andújar connected for New York, one day after hitting his first homer of the season.
Meadows improved to 5 for 9 with four homers against Germán with his two-run homer in the first inning.
Andújar hit a go-ahead solo homer off Glasnow in the fourth a few pitches after the right-hander began bleeding from a cut on the outside of his right thumb. Glasnow wiped the wound repeatedly on his right leg, leaving a red stain.
Stanton and Gleyber Torres were held out of the Yankees lineup after the pair endured a particularly tough stretch of games.
Stanton grounded out weakly against Feyereisen as a pinch-hitter in the eighth. He’s 0 for 13 with eight strikeouts in four games since returning from a left quadriceps strain that sidelined him for two weeks.
Torres had three errors at shortstop in New York’s previous two games. The 24-year-old has rated among the game’s worst defenders at short since Didi Gregorius left the team via free agency after the 2019 season. Yankees manager Aaron Boone maintains that Torres has improved defensively, but said he’s struggling to keep one mistake from turning into several.
Torres pinch hit in the 10th and walked to load the bases.
Gio Urshela filled in for Torres and made a dazzling play deep in the hole to retire Randy Arozarena in the first inning.
New York acquired minor league slugger Connor Cannon from the Giants on Tuesday as the player to be named in an April trade that sent outfielder Mike Tauchman to San Francisco for left-hander Wandy Peralta.
Rays: RHP Chaz Roe (strained right shoulder) was scratched from a rehab appearance with Triple-A Durham after experiencing soreness. The club was waiting to see how he responded to treatment before determining next steps.
Yankees: RHP Luis Severino (Tommy John surgery on Feb. 27, 2020) consistently reached 97 mph with his fastball during a three-inning, 40-pitch simulated game Monday and will begin a minor league rehab assignment Sunday, Boone said. … Third base coach Phil Nevin (COVID-19) returned to the ballpark Tuesday but isn’t ready to be in the dugout or on the field during games.
Rays LHP Shane McClanahan (2-0, 3.29) is slated to face Yankees LHP Jordan Montgomery (2-1, 4.22) in the third game of the series.
(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)