In the final game for the Rays at Yankee Stadium in 2013, Tampa Bay turned to Alex Cobb to complete the series sweep against Ivan Nova and the Yankees.
Cobb tossed seven innings of shut out, three-hit ball with two walks and four strikeouts in the Rays’ 4-0 win over the Yankees. With the win, the Rays magic number to clinch a postseason spot is two and it marks the first time the Rays (90-69) swept the Yankees (82-77) in New York.
New York had the game’s first scoring chance in the bottom of the second as Curtis Granderson walked, stole second with one out and advanced to third on Lyle Overbay’s grounder to second. But Cobb induced a grounder to second by Zoilo Almonte to strand the runner and get out of the jam. After Granderson’s walk, Cobb went on to retire the next 15 consecutive Yankee batters.
The Rays broke the scoreless tie in the top of the fourth. Evan Longoria’s single drove in Wil Myers who singled to start the inning and advanced to second on a James Loney walk and gave Tampa Bay a 1-0 lead. The Rays threatened for more and loaded the bases in the inning. Nova got out of the jam on a fly out to center by Jose Lobaton.
Tampa Bay held the lead until the top of the seventh. Delmon Young launched his 10th homer of the season, a solo shot to left center off Nova, for a 2-0 Rays’ advantage. Nova gave up two runs on eight hits, a walk and five strikeouts over seven innings.
The Rays added to their lead in the top of the eighth. Longoria’s two-run single off Dellin Betances scored Ben Zobrist, who singled to start the inning and Loney, who doubled with one out and gave Tampa Bay a 4-0 edge. Loney went 3-for-3 and Longoria went 2-for-4 with three RBI in the game.
Mariano Rivera came in relief in the top of the eighth for his final appearance at Yankee Stadium and retired Sam Fuld to end the inning.
The Yankees came up empty on another scoring chance in the bottom of the eighth. New York put runners on the corners with no out. Joel Peralta struck out Almonte and Vernon Wells and induced a pop up by J.R. Murphy to preserve the lead.
After retiring Yunel Escobar for the second out in the top of the ninth, Andy Pettitte, Joe Girardi and Derek Jeter together pulled Rivera in a final chilling moment in the career of the future Hall of Fame closer. Rivera left to a standing ovation from the crowd.
The Toronto Blue Jays will welcome the Rays in the first game of the final regular season series for both clubs Friday night. Jeremy Hellickson (12-9, 5.16) will face off against R.A. Dickey (13-13, 4.27). First pitch is scheduled for 7:07 p.m.