Aaron Judge strikes out four times in Yankees' 2-0 loss to Rays in 10 innings

The Yankees’ offense struggled on Saturday afternoon, managing just four hits in a 2-0 loss in 10 innings to the Tampa Bay Rays.

Here are the takeaways…

Nestor Cortes retired the first eight Rays before letting up a single to Rene Pinto. Cortes then let up another single, but Pinto was thrown out trying to advance to third by Trent Grisham. Cortes tossed another 1-2-3 inning in the fourth, but got into some trouble in the fifth inning.

The left-hander let up back-to-back singles before a sacrifice bunt advanced the runners. Cortes escaped the jam by striking out Jose Siri and Pinto, giving him eight K’s on the day to that point. He got into a bit more trouble in the sixth with two runners on and just one out, but forced a fly out and a groundout to keep it a scoreless game.

Cortes’ day finished after seven shutout innings, as he struck out nine and allowed six hits over 102 pitches.

– Rays starting pitcher Zach Eflin retired 15 straight Yankees before Juan Soto ripped a double to the right-field corner with two outs in the sixth inning. It was Soto’s second hit of the day, giving him two-thirds of the team’s hits. However, the Yanks couldn’t capitalize on the runner in scoring position as Eflin struck out Aaron Judge for the third time of the afternoon.

– After Alex Verdugo singled with one out in the seventh inning, manager Aaron Boone opted to pinch-hit Grisham for slugger Giancarlo Stanton. The move backfired, as Stanton grounded into the 5-4-3 double play to end the inning.

Luke Weaver came in to pitch the eighth and tossed a quick 1-2-3 inning on 12 pitches, capping it off by striking out Randy Arozarena. After the Yanks failed to score in the bottom half, Clay Holmes kept it a 0-0 game with a strong ninth inning, including two strikeouts. In the bottom of the ninth, Soto and Anthony Rizzo both hit deep flyouts and Judge struck out for a fourth time to force extra innings.

Jose Caballero drove in the game’s first run in the 10th, doubling off Caleb Ferguson on a ball that went over the head of Soto in right-center. Former Yankee Ben Rortvedt gave Tampa Bay a 2-0 lead with a bloop single to left. New York went down in order in the bottom of the inning, wasting a strong performance from Cortes.

Game MVP: Zach Eflin

Eflin dominated the Yankees on Saturday afternoon, tossing six scoreless innings with six strikeouts and only three hits allowed. He struck out Judge three times, the last with a runner on second base in a crucial spot. Eflin has now struck out Judge eight times over 12 career at-bats, allowing just one hit.

New York finished with just four hits on the day, as Eflin’s efforts damaged the Yanks’ mindset at the plate.


What’s next…

The Yankees wrap up their three-game series against the Rays on Sunday at Yankees Stadium at 1:35 p.m.

Luis Gil (0-1, 3.86 ERA) is expected to start for the Yanks and will go up against Aaron Civale (2-1, 2.74 ERA) for the Rays.

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