Voit, Torres homer as Yankees beat Rays 5-1 to force Game 5
SAN DIEGO (AP) - The New York Yankees didn't flinch under the pressure of a play-off and turned the AL Division Series against Tampa Bay into the hands of ace Gerrit Cole for the crucial Game 5.
Luke Voit and Gleyber Torres scored impressive home runs, Jordan Montgomery and three Relievers had a superb three-goal combination, and the Yankees beat the Rays 5-1 on Thursday night and even hit the best-of-5 series 2-2.
The Yankees bounced back from consecutive losses to their rivals in AL East and started a showdown between Cole and Tyler Glasnow on Friday night.
When asked about the Yankees mentality for Game 5, Voit said, "We'll win it."
And with Cole on the hill: "We are locked and loaded," said Voit.
Cole, who was supported by four home runs, won the opener 9-3 on Monday and will take a short break for the first time in his career in the big league. Yankees manager Aaron Boone said the decision was made when Cole walked past his office and made eye contact on Thursday.
"I said, 'Hey," Boone recalled.
"Just give me the ball," said the manager, his ace responding.
Cole said he took inspiration from seeing CC Sabathia, Justin Verlander, Zack Greinke and Dallas Keuchel wearing teams on a brief hiatus.
"When the lights come on, it doesn't matter if it's three, four, five, six, seven days," said Cole. "It's a special opportunity."
Cole will be pitching about 100 miles south of where he grew up as a Yankees fan in Newport Beach.
"I think everyone feels it's going to be a special game," said Cole, who played at UCLA before starting his big league career with Pittsburgh. "It won't take a man to win, it has to be one." Full team game, similar to most of our victories. Whenever you're on the line-up in a do-or-die game, your manager has confidence in you. As a player, it's always a good feeling and you always want to be out there in the big moment.
"We're here and it's part of the way to get where we ultimately want to go," added Cole, who left the Houston Astros for the off-season and joined the Yankees on a nine-year deal for $ 324 million.
Tyler Glasnow will take a two-day break after throwing 93 places over five innings and beating 2 10 in competition.
It's a rematch of last year's ALDS Game 5 between Houston and Tampa Bay. Cole threw the Astros eight innings of a one-run ball in a 5-1 win. Glasnow was drawn after eight outs and four runs.
"We saw him," said Kevin Cash, Tampa Bay manager. "I think we know him a little better now. We know he's a talented pitcher and he's getting called as I usually expected." Quiet. We have to come out and have good bats against him like we have in the past. "
Voit speculated that Glasnow would be used as the opener, followed by Blake Snell, the starter of Game 1.
Game 5 winner stays in San Diego to face the Houston Astros in the AL Championship Series starting Sunday night.
The Yankees are attempting the ALCS for the third time in four seasons after the Astros were knocked out at that point in 2017 and last season. The Rays are trying to advance to the ALCS for the first time since 2008 when they made it to their only World Series.
The Yankees wore their pinstripes for a second straight night at neutral Petco Park, living up to their nickname, the Bronx Bombers.
Voit, who led the majors with 22 homers in the pandemic-shortened season, led the second with a 1-0 pitch from Ray opener Ryan Thompson into the second deck in left field for his first career postseason shot.
"We're like caged animals," Voit said when asked when the Yankees are doing best this year under pressure.
"Right before the game, just before we were ready to hit the field, they certainly had an advantage and I thought everyone was big tonight," said Boone.
Torres stepped up his teammate when he put a two-run homer on the fourth-floor balcony of the Western Metal Supply Co.'s brick warehouse in the left corner of the rock, the heart of the downtown ballpark. That came in the first place he saw Ryan Yarbrough and put the Yankees 4-1 ahead. In his previous attack, Torres fouled a ball off his calf.
It was Torres' first this postseason and fifth of his career tying Mickey Mantle for most playoff homers for a Yankees player up to 23.
The 20-year-old Mantle was the only younger Yankees player to be homer after the post-season elimination, in both Games 6 and 7 of the 1952 World Series against the Brooklyn Dodgers.
"We were very confident tonight," said Torres. "We never panic or anything like that. We just come on the plate and try to do what we can. Inning after inning we feel more comfortable. That's the whole thing." Team wants to feel. And we believed in our bullpen all night, so we feel great about it. "
Torres' homer was 18th in the series, with each team scoring nine hits.
New York kept Randy Arozarena in the stadium after the 25-year-old Cuban played a home game in each of the first three games. Likewise, the Rays finished Giancarlo Stanton's franchise record run in five consecutive games, but he doubled down. Stanton hit four homers in the first three games of that series and had a total of six in the first five postseason games.
Chad Green, Zack Britton and Aroldis Chapman bonded for five hits with no relief, knocking out 15 of the last 16 batters. Green threw two perfect innings for the win and Chapman got four outs for his first save of the postseason. He knocked out Arozarena on a 101 mph sinker to finish eighth.
Montgomery went four innings in his first appearance since September 24, keeping the Rays on one run and three hits while hitting four and walking three. He beat Arozarena in the first and pulled the breakout star back on a grounder in the fourth.
Tampa Bay loaded the bases in the third but got only one run, at the election of Brandon Lowe's outfield.
It was a much better start than Montgomery against the Rays at Yankee Stadium on September 2, when he was drawn after four runs and five hits on 39 fields and only two outs.
Thompson took the loss. He was pursued after flying DJ LeMahieu's victim for the second of the second.
Montgomery gave the Yankees exactly what they needed.
“It was a great trip. We just needed it to give each other a little, "said Boone." He did a great job giving us exactly what we needed so we could turn it over to the backend. "
Kyle Higashioka went with an RBI single in the eighth inning 2-4 in the place of Gary Sánchez, who sat on a bench for the third time in four games. Higashioka will start again on Friday to catch Cole.
Yankees: Cole is 2-0 in the postseason. The Yankees will be the visiting team.
Rays: Glasnow won Game 2 and allowed four runs in five innings.
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