Yanks Down Rays, Get First Look at Instant Replay

A.J. MartelliSenior Analyst ISeptember 3, 2008

The New York Yankees knocked off the Tampa Bays Rays by a score of 8-4 on Wednesday night. Carl Pavano started for New York, and it was his third start since his return. He was not as effective as he was in his last two starts going  four innings, while giving up three earned runs on six hits, walking two, and striking out one.

Edwin Jackson went for the Rays. He lasted 3.1 innings, gave up five earned runs on ten hits, walked one, and struck out two. The Rays struck first in the bottom of the first inning. Cliff Floyd singled to center field to score B.J. Upton, and Tampa Bay went up 1-0.

The Yankees struck back in the top of the second. Robinson Cano doubled to score Xavier Nady, and Ivan Rodriguez doubled to score Cano, giving the Bombers a 2-1 lead. In the top of the third inning, the Yankees poured on three runs and gave themselves a cushion. Alex Rodriguez doubled to score Bobby Abreu, Jason Giambi doubled to score Rodriguez, and Hideki Matsui singled to score Giambi, and the Yankees went ahead 5-1.

The Yankees put another run on the board in the top of the fourth. Alex Rodriguez singled to score Johnny Damon, and the Yankees took a 6-1 lead. The Rays put two runs on the board in the bottom of the fourth. With Dioner Navarro on second, Gabe Gross cut the lead in half with a two-run homer, his 12th of the season, and the Rays trailed 6-3.

Reliever Edwar Ramirez was called on in relief in the bottom of the fifth. Pavano left him in a jam, but with the bases loaded, Ramirez got Willie Aybar to lineout into an unassisted double play to Cano at second base, and then got Eric Hinske to pop out to end the threat.

In the top of the ninth, the Yankees and Rays got their first taste of Major League Baseball's brand new instant replay system. Alex Rodriguez smashed Troy Percival's offering high over the left field foul pole, and appeared to hit the facing of the wall behind the pole. The Rays argued that the ball was foul.

It took exactly two minutes and 15 seconds for the umpires to go into the tunnel and review the play. It was ruled a fair home run, Rodriguez's 31st of the season and 549th of his career, and the Yankees took the lead, 8-3. In the bottom of the frame, Akinori Iwamura sliced a double off reliever Jose Veras to score Gross, and Tampa Bay trailed 8-4.

After the RBI double, Veras was able to get Upton to fly out to end the game. Ramirez gets the win for getting out of the jam in the fifth inning, and improves to 5-1. Jackson gets the loss, and falls to 11-9. Phil Coke recorded his first big league hold, and Brian Bruney recorded his 8th hold of the campaign.

Alex Rodriguez had a huge night, going 3-4 with two runs scored, three hits, four RBI, and of course was the man who prompted MLB's first use of instant replay. "I thought it was fair, but I was prepared to go back out and hit if they called it foul. I'm just glad they got the right call," said Alex Rodriguez on the reviewed home run call after the game. "In my next lifetime I want to go stealth and stay out of all the craziness!"

Rodriguez now passes Mike Schmidt and takes 12th place all by himself on baseball's all-time home runs list. "I didn't get a good look at it, but I'm just glad they got the call right," said skipper Joe Girardi after the game. "We also got a good game out of our bullpen. Phil Coke and Bruney were good, and Edwar got three huge outs."

The Yankee bullpen went a combined five innings, gave up one run on two hits, walked one, and fanned two. Tomorrow night at 7:10 ET, the Yankees will look for a sweep of Tampa Bay. Darrell Rasner (5-9, 5.08 ERA) will take on the Rays' ace Scott Kazmir (10-6, 3.13 ERA)