Clint Frazier Uses His Glove, and His Bat, to Beat Rays

Clint Frazier hit a game-ending, two-run homer with two outs within the 11th inning after making a game-saving catch within the eighth, and the slumping Yankees beat the rival Tampa Bay Rays, 5-3, Tuesday night time.

The righty-hitting Frazier turned on a slider from right-hander Andrew Kittredge (5-1) and stood on the plate to admire the drive, capping a decent end through which each groups got here up brief on potential rallies.

One of these stalled efforts got here within the eighth, when Frazier dove and wanted each inch of his mitt to catch Joey Wendle’s soft-hit liner to strand two.

The Yankees ended a four-game slide and beat Tampa Bay within the Bronx for the second time in 11 tries because the begin of final season. The A.L. East-leading Rays remained 4 and a half video games forward of the Yankees with two video games left on this four-game sequence.

Tampa Bay had held the Yankees to three or fewer runs in seven straight matchups and gained 9 straight in opposition to division foes.

The Yankees offense has struggled so mightily, hitting coach Marcus Thames joked earlier than the sport he has baggage below his eyes from a sequence of sleepless nights. With simply six hits, this was hardly a clear breakthrough, however the workforce additionally drew seven walks to eke out a decent win over a division rival.

After slowly jogging across the bases on his homer, Frazier tossed his helmet like a pull-up jumper as he neared teammates ready at residence plate, then jumped with them after his second profession walk-off homer. His different got here as a rookie in 2017.

Frazier’s homer lifted his batting common to .185 throughout a troublesome season. It was solely his fifth homer and first since May 16.

“It’s been a long season,” Frazier mentioned. “But the people in here believe in me.”

Luis Cessa (1-0) shortly labored by an ideal high of the 11th, the final of seven Yankees pitchers to mix on a three-hitter. The bullpen accounted for six hitless innings.

Blue Jays president Mark Shapiro believes there’s an opportunity the workforce may lastly return residence to Toronto sooner or later this season, whereas cautioning the choice hinges on when Canada will loosen its strict border laws.

Shapiro declined to get into specifics on Tuesday by saying talks between the Blue Jays and Canadian well being officers have turn into extra frequent and “certainly more positive” in current weeks.

In referring to an “underlying level of optimism” related to extra Canadians receiving the Covid-19 vaccine, Shapiro careworn essentially the most important problem stays the border being closed to nonessential journey.

“Just focus on the border, recognizing anything around that is going to be a challenge — not impossible — but a challenge,” he mentioned. “But the only clarity exists around the border being open.”

Shapiro spoke earlier than the Blue Jays’ 5-1 win over the Miami Marlins on Tuesday, which marked Toronto’s return to taking part in “home” video games at their Class AAA affiliate’s ballpark in Buffalo, N.Y. The Blue Jays made the shift north to escape the warmth and humidity in Florida, after spending the primary two months of the season taking part in out of their spring coaching website in Dunedin.

The Blue Jays haven’t performed in Toronto since closing the 2019 season with an 8-Three win over Tampa Bay on Sept. 29.

Last 12 months, the Blue Jays have been compelled right into a nomadic existence south of the border after Canadian well being officers barred groups from crossing the border.

On Monday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau mentioned his nation gained’t be rushed into reopening its border, which has been closed because the coronavirus pandemic started in March 2020. Canadians returning to their homeland are required to instantly spend 14 days in self-quarantine.

The Blue Jays are at present dedicated to taking part in in Buffalo by July 4, which closes a 10-game homestand. Toronto isn’t scheduled to play a house sport once more till opening a three-game sequence in opposition to Texas on July 16.

One change from final 12 months is the Blue Jays shall be taking part in in entrance of followers in Buffalo after followers have been barred from attending video games. New York state is permitting about 6,600 followers — representing 35 p.c capability — to attend video games with quantity increasing to 45 p.c in two weeks.

“We’d gladly endure hardship and burden to get home,” Shapiro mentioned.

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