Kevin Cash called this the greatest moment in his baseball career so far. I’m sure that many Tampa Bay baseball fans are feeling the same way after the Rays deposed of the hated New York Yankees 2-1 in a winner take all fifth game.
Tensions were high from the start as Gerrit Cole started for the Yankees on three days and the Rays sent Tyler Glasnow to the mound on two days rest.
Things got interesting right way as the Rays loaded the bases in the first against Cole but would not be able to get any runs across.
That would be the Rays only threat until Austin Meadows hit one out in the bottom of the fifth inning to tie the game at one.
Cole threw 93 pitches on three days rest and was outstanding as he allowed one hit and one run, the homer by Meadows. Cole also had nine strikeouts.
Cash admitted he had no idea what kind of game he would get from Glasnow but was pleased to get two-plus winnings from Glasnow with two strikeouts.
Cash then switched things up as he brought in closer Nick Anderson in the third inning, followed by Pete Fairbanks and Diego Castillo.
What seemed unorthodox worked to perfection as Cash pushed all the right buttons in this game and throughout the series.
All the runs scored in the game were on three solo home runs.
Aaron Judge of the Yankees gave his team a 1-0 lead in the fourth with his second home run of the series. Austin Meadows tied it in the fifth for the Rays with a solo home run, his second of the series.
It would stay 1-1 till the bottom of the eighth inning when Michael Brosseau hit a 99 MPH fastball off Yankee reliever Aroldis Chapman into the left-field seats that would give the Rays the lead and the 2-1 win.
There has been some bad blood between the Rays and the Yankees this season.
On Sept first, Chapman had a 101 MPH fastball, wiz, by the head of Brosseau in the 5-3 Rays win. This led to both benches clearing at the end of the game.
Brosseau struck out swinging against Chapman to end game four of this series that ended in a 5-1 Yankees win.
It was sweet revenge for Brosseau as he battled Chapman, fouling off pitch after pitch before connecting on the fastball that gave the Rays the win.
After the game, Brosseau said, “I don’t know if there’s any way to describe that kind of feeling. It’s something I’ll never forget. So happy that this team, that do what we do every day, and that’s come to the park to play. We have so much fun, we click so well together. I couldn’t be happier to kind of keep this season going. Nobody here wanted this season to end tonight. Happy to do my part and keep this team going for at least a little bit longer.’
Kevin Cash was also thrilled to beat the Yankees and called it his greatest moment in baseball. “Hands down the greatest moment I’ve been a part of in baseball. There have been some great ones, but what that meant to this team, how we got there, that matchup, pretty special. A lot went into that game, but for Mikey to come up there in that situation and just come up as big as he possibly could.”
With the win, the Rays move on to the ALCS for only the second time in team history.
The Rays will get a chance to settle a score with the Houston Astros.
The Astros eliminated the Rays three games to two in last years ALDS.
The Astros are in the ALCS for the fourth consecutive season. The Rays will come into the series with a much better and more confident team than the Rays of 2019.
Game one is Sunday night with Blake Snell on the mound. The first pitch is at 7:37 PM.