Coming off a rare and discouraging series loss to the Rangers at Tropicana Field, Rays shortstop Willy Adames said Friday afternoon that Tampa Bay arrived in New York looking to win a series and “play the game that we know how to play.”
It was a fortuitous mix of scheduling and timing, because the Yankees seem to bring out the best in the Rays.
Starter Michael Wacha dominated for six innings, and the Rays found the hits they’d been looking for all week as they cruised to an 8-2 win on Friday night at Yankee Stadium. Since the start of last season, the Rays are now 14-5 against the Yankees, with a 6-1 record in the Bronx.
The Rays jumped out to an early lead, as Brandon Lowe doubled in Austin Meadows and Randy Arozarena in the first inning, and they never looked back while the Yankees struggled to find the strike zone and stumbled in the field. It was exactly the kind of night Tampa Bay needed after losing three straight games and eight of their last 11.
After making his last appearance after an opener, Wacha showed what he could do back in a starting role. The right-hander fired six scoreless innings and struck out nine while allowing just one hit and two walks. It was just the third time in his nine-year career, and the first time since 2017, that Wacha put together a scoreless start of at least six innings with nine or more strikeouts.