Arozarena powers Rays past Yanks 8-4 for 2-1 lead in ALDS
SAN DIEGO (AP) - The Tampa Bay Rays unanimously praise Randy Arozarena, who lives up to his nickname "The Cuban Rocket".
Arozarena celebrated its third game in a row and Kevin Kiermaier and Michael Perez also went deep into the Rays, beating the New York Yankees 8-4 on Wednesday night to reach the AL Championship Series in one win for the first time in 12 years.
"He's the best player in the world," said Kiermaier. "He's amazing. He's unique in so many ways. Everyone loves him. He's the man. What he does is incredible."
New York bat Giancarlo Stanton hit a two-run homer in the eighth inning ahead of Shane McClanahan to become the first player to score a home run in the first five games of a team in a single postseason. Stanton has six homers and 13 RBIs in those five games. McClanahan made his Major League debut in Game 1 on Monday night.
Arozarena, a 25-year-old rookie from Havana, has a postseason. He met Gerrit Cole in the first inning of Game 1, a 9-3 Yankees win, and rookie Deivi García in the first inning of Game 2, a 7-5 Rays win.
Arozarena hit a shot to the left on Wednesday evening five to chase down Masahiro Tanaka and put Tampa Bay 5-1 ahead.
The Rays took a 2-1 lead in the Best of Five Division series. Game 4 is Thursday night at Petco Park, which has 16 home races in three games - nine from Tampa Bay.
The rays want to come out of the ALDS for the second time. They reached the 2008 World Series before losing to the Philadelphia Phillies.
Arozarena went 3 for 4 with a walk. He leads all players in the postseason with 12 goals in five games. He went unhitting in five postseason record appearances for St. Louis in 2019, which brought him to Tampa Bay in January.
On Tuesday evening, Rays starter Tyler Glasnow called Arozarena “the best baseball player in the world right now. What he does is phenomenal. "
Kiermaier added: “We should all take a page out of his book, what his routine is and how he gets to the field every day. He just doesn't think there. He goes up there and is so raw in every facet of his game, and he goes out there and just does it night after night. It's incredible."
Ray's manager Kevin Cash called it “pretty spectacular. He inspires us all in the shelter. I'm sure there are people out there who have done some special things, but when you sit there and see it firsthand it's pretty remarkable what happens. "
Yankees catcher Kyle Higashioka said Arozarena has an unwavering approach on its plate.
"I don't think I've ever seen a man punish every single mistake before," said Higashioka. "We can't get away with anything against him right now. It was pretty frustrating."
"We have to find a way to obviously keep him in check," said manager Aaron Boone. "We're going to keep diving and just trying to take out pitches. We made some mistakes and he didn't miss them."
Kiermaier hit a three-shot into the home run deck right in front of Tanaka with no outs in the fourth to make it 4-1. Joey Wendle was on board with a leadoff single and Willy Adames with a stroll.
"To be completely honest, I think my homer really got us going, and after that it was a snowball effect," said Kiermaier.
Perez hit a two-run shot to stop Chad Green in the sixth. Kiermaier was on board with a lead-off double. It was the 11th home game of a No. 9 hit this postseason, the best of all time.
Charlie Morton won after keeping the Yankees to two runs, one earned and four hits in five innings. He hit six and went two to win his fifth straight decision after the season.
Tanaka took the loss after allowing five runs and eight hits in more than four innings. He hit four and went one.
The Yankees loaded the bases twice in the third inning and only got one sacrificial fly from Aaron Judge. Aaron Hicks scored an RBI double in the fifth.
PINSTRIPES IN SAN DIEGO
With the series in a neutral place, the AL top seed Tampa Bay was the home team in Games 1 and 2, and the Yankees fought last in Game 3 and will do so again in Game 4. That meant the Bronx bombers wore pinstripes. One of the rare times they have done this outside of Yankee Stadium in the past few decades. The last time they wore pinstripes in an NL park was on April 15, 1998 against the Angels in a game at Shea Stadium after a compensator fell into the Yankee Stadium seats. The Yankees played home games at Shea from 1974 to 1975 when the Yankee Stadium was remodeled. Most recently, they wore pinstripes during a series in London against the Boston Red Sox in 2019 and in Tokyo on March 30 and 31, 2004 for an opening series against the Rays.
Rays: Ryan Thompson will be the opener of Game 4.
Yankees: LHP Jordan Montgomery makes his postseason debut. Montgomery was on the 2017 Yankees' ALDS and ALCS rosters, but did not start. He went 2-3 with a 5.11 ERA in 10 regular season starts that year. It lasted two-thirds of an inning against the Rays on September 2, allowing Arozarena and Mike Brosseau two homers.
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