Rapid Reaction: Rays 3, Yankees 0

April, 8, 2012
4/08/12
4:42
PM ET
Recap | Box score | Photos

Lumber slumber: Three hits, all of them doubles, and no runs sends the Yankees to Baltimore needing to sweep the Orioles in order to come to their home opener as a .500 ballclub. Hard to believe, but true. Can't blame the pitchers today, can't blame the manager. Against Jeremy Hellickson, the Yankees simply did not hit -- 0-for-5 w/RISP -- and the main culprit? Their DH. All the grisly details below.

Phil Hughes-ful: The Yankees' No. 3 starter pitched the best game of anyone in the rotation so far -- we haven't seen Ivan Nova or Freddy Garcia yet -- but couldn't get out of the fifth inning, needing 99 pitches to go 4-2/3. And due to the silence of the Yankee bats for the first half of the game, the 2-0 hole he left them in seemed very deep indeed.

Swisssssh!: Tough half-day for Nick Swisher, today's DH, who overswung at a 3-1 pitch and popped out to shortstop with runners on second and third in the fourth, and struck out with men on first and third in the sixth.

What a Pena: Carlos Pena continued to torment the Yankees, with a home run in the third inning and another near-HR in the fifth, but the daily fan interference incident in the right-field bleachers reduced his shot to a double. The ruling wound up costing Tampa a run when Pena was stranded at second. Still, quite a weekend: 6 hits, 2 HRs, 7 RBIs.

No shift, Sherlock: Mark Teixeira showed the best way to defeat the shift: Hit it where they ain't, namely, off the top of the right-field wall. In the fourth, Tex doubled with Alex Rodriguez on first, but Ben Zobrist played it perfectly off the wall and A-Rod had to stop at third. Both runners died there, however, when Nick Swisher popped out on a 3-1 pitch and Desmond Jennings ran down Raul Ibanez' liner to deep center.

Boone Logan's back: Is OK, evidently. The Lefty Specialist came on in relief of Hughes to perform his specialty, striking out Matt Joyce with two on and two out in the fifth. He also got the first two outs of the sixth, until ...

Blown Logan returns: Logan grooved a fastball to Jeff Keppinger, who deposited it in the left-field seats to make it 3-0 Tampa.

Welcome to the big leagues, David Phelps!: Joe Girardi picked a heck of a time to start Phelps' MLB career, bringing him into the eighth inning with two runners on and one out. And Phelps responded, striking out Elliot Johnson and retiring Reid Brignac on a groundout.

What's next: Flight to Baltimore, where Ivan Nova faces LHP Brian Matusz Monday night in the first game of a three-game series, first pitch at 7:05 p.m. The great Andrew Marchand takes over until we get to Yankee Stadium for the home opener on Friday.
Wallace Matthews has covered New York sports since 1983 as a reporter, columnist, radio host and TV commentator. He covers the Yankees for ESPNNewYork.com after working for Newsday, the New York Post, the New York Sun and ESPN New York 98.7 FM.
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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Jacoby Ellsbury
BA HR RBI R
.285 13 61 63
OTHER LEADERS
HRM. Teixeira 20
RBIJ. Ellsbury 61
RB. Gardner 78
OPSB. Gardner .779
WM. Tanaka 12
ERAH. Kuroda 3.94
SOM. Tanaka 135