Saturday’s doubleheader boxscores will reveal the Yankees and Rays split a pair of seven-inning games since the Yankees copped the opener and the Rays won the nightcap.
In reality, the Yankees may have been losers, because when they walked out of Tropicana Field, they didn’t know how long they would be without Giancarlo Stanton.
After the Yankees won the first game, 8-4, behind Gerrit Cole’s good but abbreviated start and home runs by Mike Ford, Aaron Judge and Stanton, they watched their designated hitter depart the second tilt — a 5-3 loss — with a tight left hamstring.
“It was when he moved up on the wild pitch [in the fourth inning]. That is where it tightened up on him. We are going to get an MRI, but it does look like it is an IL situation,’’ manager Aaron Boone said.
Stanton, who was limited to 18 regular-season games last year due to injuries, began the day in a 2-for-21 (.095) funk but went 2-for-3 with a homer in the opener and walked twice in two plate appearances in the second game.
Miguel Andujar, recently sent to the alternate site, is a possible replacement for Stanton.
Following the top of the fifth, Boone and hitting coach Marcus Thames were ejected by plate umpire Vic Carapazza. The Yankees’ dugout was chirping at Rays pitchers for throwing hard up and in.
The split left the Yankees with a 10-5 record. They have lost three of four and will attempt to get out of Florida on Sunday having taken two of four from the Rays. The struggling James Paxton (0-1, 13.50 ERA) faces Charlie Morton.
One out away from qualifying for what would have been his 20th straight win, Cole was removed by Boone after giving up a two-run homer to Jose Martinez that cut the Yankees’ lead to 5-3 in the fifth. Cole needed a season-high 107 pitches to go 4 ²/₃ innings in which he gave up three runs, six hits and struck out 10. The Yankees are 4-0 in Cole’s four starts.
“Good and bad. I thought the fastball location was improved. Obviously the pitch count got up there and wasn’t able to finish the outing the way we wanted to,’’ Cole said. “But there was some kind of improvement across the board so I will try and take that.’’
Boone lauded the Rays hitters for making Cole sweat even during the opening four frames when the hosts didn’t score.
“Credit to them, they made him work obviously and really drove his count up,’’ Boone said. “They were able to get a guy on base it seemed like every inning. I thought he was pretty sharp overall for not being able to get through five.’’
An RBI double by Ji-Man Choi in the fifth was followed by Martinez’s two-run homer, and suddenly a 5-0 lead was reduced to a two-run cushion and led to Boone calling for Chad Green.
“A couple of mistakes at the end that cost him to get through [five]. I though the other side at least made it tough on him when I thought he was pretty sharp,’’ said Boone, who used Adam Ottavino for the seventh to seal a win that halted a two-game losing streak.
Trailing 5-1 heading into the seventh of the second game the Yankees rallied for two runs on DJ LeMahieu’s two-out single. That brought Judge to the plate representing the potential tying run. But his fly ball to center field died on the warning track. It may have provided an instant of hope in the Yankees’ dugout, but Judge knew it was short.
“I got underneath it a little bit. I knew when I hit it, it wasn’t going to make it,’’ said Judge, who was challenged with fastballs by Nick Anderson. “Just underneath it a little bit. He has a good fastball that really plays up in the zone and I wasn’t able to get on top of it.’’