Austin's walk-off blast lifts Yankees over Rays
Send a link to a friend
[September 09, 2016]
NEW YORK -- Homering in his
first career at-bat was meaningful enough for Tyler Austin.
Nearly a month later, he was getting mobbed at the plate for hitting
an even more significant home run.
Austin homered with two outs of the bottom ninth inning, lifting the
New York Yankees to a 5-4 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on
"That might top the first game up here," Austin said. "That was a
huge team win for us and a special moment."
Austin, who began this season with Double-A Trenton, ended New
York's biggest win to date when he drove a full count fastball from
Erasmo Ramirez a few rows into the right-center field seats. He
raised his right arm and pumped his fist while rounding first base
and flipped his helmet in the air when he neared home plate.
"Honestly I probably wouldn't believe you," Austin said of his
timely blast. "In spring training and the way last year went for me.
I started off in Double-A this year, didn't give up, kept battling
and here we are."
Once he reached the plate, Austin was met by his teammates and later
was showered in Gatorade by shortstop Didi Gregorius and left
fielder Brett Gardner.
Austin's third career home run gave the Yankees (74-65) a fifth
straight win, improved them to 11-4 in their last 15 contests and
moved them within two games of idle Baltimore for the second wild
card spot and within four of idle Boston for the AL East lead. New
York is getting close with two wild wins in Kansas City last week
and Tuesday's thrilling victory over Toronto, which was decided on
Gardner's catch in the ninth.
"We've been in some crazy games," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.
"I think about the games in Kansas City, the one against Toronto and
they just keep fighting back."
Austin became the first Yankee rookie to get a walk-off home run
since Melky Cabrera on July 18, 2006 in the 11th inning against
Seattle's Julio Mateo.
"It's amazing what these kids have been able to do for us," Girardi
Austin's blast gave the Yankees their fifth walk-off win and
occurred on a night when Adam Warren, Tyler Clippard and closer
Dellin Betances were unavailable.
The Yankees used four relievers after CC Sabathia allowed three solo
home runs among seven hits in four-plus innings. New York rookie
Jonathan Holder nearly allowed a run on a balk but the Yankees got
the call overturned in the fifth.
Tommy Layne (2-1) struck out pinch hitter Logan Morrison with the
go-ahead run on first and would started the ninth had the game
Brian McCann homered twice off Alex Cobb in consecutive at-bats for
his 14th multi-home run game. He nearly had a third home run in the
ninth off Enny Romero but flied out to the warning track in deep
Gregorius added an RBI single for the Yankees, whose other run came
on errant throw by Cobb on a pickoff play at first base.
[to top of second column]
Yankees first baseman Tyler Austin (26) is doused by Yankees left
fielder Brett Gardner (11) after hitting a walk off home run against
the Tampa Bay Rays during the ninth inning at Yankee Stadium.
Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Kevin Kiermaier recorded his first career multi-home run game for
Tampa Bay, which has dropped four of its last five. Steven Souza Jr.
also hit two home runs, including a 461-foot drive to center field
in the sixth off Holder that kept the game tied until Austin
"It felt really good," Souza said of his second home run.
Cobb allowed three earned runs and nine hits in six innings in his
second start back from Tommy John surgery. Coincidentally it was his
second straight outing at Yankee Stadium that ended with the Yankees
getting a 5-4 victory on a ninth-inning home run.
"Today as a whole was a lot more beneficial to my growing and
getting to the point where I need to," Cobb said.
Tampa Bay took a 1-0 lead when Kiermaier drove a 2-1 pitch into the
second deck in right field with one out in the first. The Yankees
scored twice in the first on an RBI single by Gregorius and a
throwing error by Cobb on a pickoff play at first.
The teams traded leadoff home runs in the second.
The Rays tied it when Souza opened the second by driving a 2-0 pitch
into the New York bullpen beyond the right center field fence.
McCann gave New York a 3-2 lead when he drove a 1-0 fastball into
the second deck in right.
Kiermaier began the third by lifting a 1-2 pitch into the right
field seats for a 3-3 tie. The game stayed tied until McCann lifted
a 1-2 fastball into a similar location as Kiermaier's second home
run with one out in the fourth.
NOTES: Chad Mottola became the seventh hitting coach in Tampa Bay
history and said he is familiar with OF Mikie Mahtook and 3B Richie
Shaffer from their time together with Triple-A Durham. Mottola also
said he knows IF Brad Miller and UTL Nick Franklin since all three
are from Orlando, Fla. ... The Rays signed SS Alexi Ramirez and
added him to their active roster. Ramirez was released by the San
Diego Padres on Sunday. ... Asked about Tim Tebow signing with the
New York Mets, Yankees manager Joe Girardi said: "I'd be shocked if
he's not rusty, but the Mets thought enough of him to sign him, so
I'm curious. I'm going to watch and pay attention to see how he
does. I think it's a good story."
[© 2016 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2016 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.