The Trop was packed, fans were roaring, the New York Yankees were visiting, and not to mention the Tampa Bay Rays hit send on a message to the AL East.
The game began with both pitchers going pound for pound. What looked to be a dual on the mound, ended the minute Michael Kay stated it.
Out of nowhere it was already the top of the fourth inning. Nick Johnson starts it off with line-drive into right for his, and the Yankees first hit of the game.
Mark Teixeira followed and his premature struggles extend as he blooper one up for an out.
Tex’s uneasiness was speedily forgotten when Arod slammed what looked to be a home-run into center field, but it bounced off the top wall. Johnson scored, and Arod was safe at third, only to continue home off an error by Rays catcher Dave Navarro.
Finally, the Yanks broke the hard throwing Price and were up 2-0 and all looked to be moving right along.
Javier Vazquez now had the insurance to continue his solid pitching.
With one out, and a player on first, Carlos Pena stepped up and whacked a home-run which to tie the game 2-2.
The Rays kept going as Navarro hit into left, easily scoring Upton, kept it going as S-Rod singles, Jason Bartlett hits a double which scores two more runs. Still in the fourth inning Rays leading 5-2, and finally Carl Crawford pops it up to end the torture.
The rest of the night was all Rays, and the Yankees did not score another run. The finally beating, 9-2 and the feeling of hope was evidently following throughout Tropicana Field.
Nick Swisher continuously smashed the ball, but with no help from his teammates must be extremely frustrating. Everyone loves Swish, and still so-so on Johnson, but they need the power of Tex and Granderson to step it up.
Jeter is not fully going yet, and if Tex can get that first big hit the plants can align again.
Vazquez was dominant until the end of that fourth inning and than the avalanche began. The Rays do have a potent line-up, and one Vazquez is not familiar coming from the NL. Not worried because Vazquez will get better as the season goes on.
What does this mean for the Tampa Bay Rays?
They gave the Yankees a beating tonight, and in a big way.
The fact is the Rays have the talent all over the place, but we know that answer already.
Time will tell if the Rays mental game has caught up with their athletic maturity. If it has, the Nation and the Universe has reason to worry, making these inter-division games more important than ever.
Unacceptable as the defending champs to go down without more of a fight. As this three-team race in the AL East becomes reality, the Yankees do not want to be team three.
Tomorrow is a new day, another chance and a game that the Yankees should make sure to win.