Thanks to Gleyber Torres and Luke Voit supplying the long ball, Chad Green delivering two dominating innings of relief and extended work by Zack Britton and Aroldis Chapman, the Yankees are one game away from a second straight ALCS appearance.
Thanks to a complete team effort, the Yankees beat the Rays, 5-1, in Game 4 of the ALDS on Thursday night at San Diego’s Petco Park and evened the best-of-five affair at 2-2.
Game 5 is Friday night and the winner will face the surprising Astros in the best-of-seven ALCS that opens Sunday at Petco. The Astros ended the Yankees’ 2019 season by winning four of six games amid accusations they were cheating.
The Yankees will start Gerrit Cole in Game 5 on three days’ rest for the first time in his career. Cole was the winner in Game 1 on Monday night, when he gave up three runs and six hits in six innings of a 9-3 victory.
Cole won Game 1 of the AL Wild Card Series against the Indians, when he struck out 13 and gave up two hits in six innings.
Torres stretched a 2-1 lead to 4-1 with a towering two-run homer in the sixth to left field off Rays lefty Ryan Yarbrough. Voit supplied the first run of the game with a 453-foot blast to left-center in the second off Ryan Thompson.
Torres fouled a ball off his left calf in the fourth inning that appeared to be serious enough for him being forced out of the game. But Torres finished the at-bat and flied to center field. The next time he saw Yarbrough, the only thing the ball hit was the fourth floor of a brick building beyond the left-field foul pole for a two-run homer.
Elevated from eighth to sixth in the batting order by Aaron Boone to balance the lineup, Brett Gardner singled to left for the second time in three innings. The difference is that Gardner scored in the sixth ahead of Torres.
Green retired all six batters he faced in the fifth and sixth. Britton pitched to three hitters in the seventh and two in the eighth, none reached base and three struck out.
In his first appearance of the series, Chapman entered with two outs in the eighth and walked the left-handed hitting Brandon Lowe on five pitches. Chapman rebounded to strike out Randy Arozarena with a 101 mph fastball and recorded the final three outs in the ninth.
Kyle Higashioka upped the cushion to 5-1 with an RBI single in the ninth. He went 2-for-4 and will catch Cole on Friday night.
Starter Jordan Montgomery wasn’t crisp — three walks and three hits in four innings — but handed Green a 2-1 lead to start the fifth.
Montgomery gave up a leadoff single to Yandy Diaz in the first and then didn’t allow a base runner until walking Willy Adames to start the third when the lefty did very well to surrender just one run.
Working with a 2-0 lead, Montgomery watched Kevin Kiermaier drive a 0-2 pitch the other way to left for a ground-rule double that put runners at second and third. Montgomery fanned Mike Zunino on a 3-2 pitch as Higashioka blocked three balls in the dirt to keep Adames at third.
A four-pitch walk to Diaz loaded the bases, and Lowe’s grounder up the middle was turned into a RBI force at second by DJ LeMahieu in front of Montgomery inducing Arozarena to ground out and strand two runners.
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