NY Yankees 6, Tampa Bay 3
When: 7:05 PM ET, Friday, April 22, 2016
Where: Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York
Will Little, 1B -
Ted Barrett, 2B -
Ben May, 3B -
NEW YORK -- Standing on third and the New York Yankees trailing by a run, Jacoby Ellsbury was looking to make something happen.
Before Matt Moore began his windup, Ellsbury was off and running.
In an instant, Ellsbury was safe and his daring steal of home with two outs and two strikes on Brett Gardner in the bottom of the fifth inning ultimately sparked New York to a 6-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday night.
"I'm always looking to go," Ellsbury said. "You give me the green to take a stab at it, I'm going to go for it as long as I'm confident in going. But every single time, I get on third base I'm looking for something like that. It's exciting. You run down the line. Hopefully you got a good enough jump and hopefully you're fast enough to beat the ball across the plate."
Struggling for offense for most of the last week, the Yankees had second and third with two outs in the fifth when Ellsbury and Didi Gregorius singled off Moore (1-1). Moore was then charged with a balk after a 3-1 pitch to Gardner and the at-bat reached a full count while Tampa Bay was playing its infield back.
"I knew it was pretty much 100 percent if I went I was going to make it," Ellsbury said.
"It's a great play but when it goes well, it's gratifying," Yankees right fielder Carlos Beltran said.
After Gardner took a called strike two, Ellsbury began moving before Moore released his high fastball for ball four and reached home just in time to get his right hand on the plate ahead of Curt Casali's tag.
"I'm not sure if I actually saw it or felt it. I can hear different things: 'step off, hurry up' and it was sometime right about when my hands are over my head that I tried to shorten the whole thing up and just get it there," Moore said.
"If it was just a foot lower, Curt doesn't have to reach as high and go back down. It was definitely a risky play on their part and if I would have executed a little better, we would have had an out right there."
It was the second career steal of home by Ellsbury and the first straight steal of home by a Yankee since Derek Jeter in May 2001 at Baltimore. It also was the first time Tampa Bay allowed a straight steal of home in team history.
"Two strikes like that, it caught everybody by surprise," Yankees catcher Brian McCann said. "He was safe, great play."
"I think there was a lot of excitement," Girardi said. "It's not a play you see every day."
Ellsbury entered the game after center fielder Aaron Hicks injured his shoulder attempting to make a diving catch in the fourth. After his daring steal, Ellsbury added a two-run double in the eighth as the Yankees (5-9) avoided their first 5-10 start since 1997.
Before and after Ellsbury's steal, McCann hit a two-run home run in the second and had the tiebreaking single in the fifth.
Logan Forsythe hit a two-run double and scored on an RBI single by Brandon Guyer for Tampa Bay.
New York's CC Sabathia allowed three runs and nine hits in 4 2/3 innings. Ivan Nova (1-0) pitched 2 1/3 scoreless innings for the win, Dellin Betances struck out the side in the eighth and Andrew Miller recorded his fourth save.
Moore allowed four runs and eight hits in 6 2/3 innings.
Tampa Bay loaded the bases with one out in the second inning and took a 2-0 lead when Forsythe lined a two-run double down the left-field line. New York tied it in the bottom of the second when McCann drove a 2-1 fastball into the right-center-field seats for a two-run homer, his third homer of the season.
The Rays took a 3-2 lead with two outs in the third. Forsythe doubled over Gardner's head in left field and scored when Guyer's single landed just out of the reach of Hicks' diving attempt.
NOTES: LHP Blake Snell will be recalled from Triple-A Durham and make his major league debut Saturday, but Rays manager Kevin Cash said it will be a spot start. "There's genuine excitement throughout the organization," Cash said. "This young man has been talked quite a bit." Snell flew to New York Friday and already had a locker assigned in the clubhouse. Snell is starting because Saturday's original scheduled starter, RHP Erasmo Ramirez, was used Thursday in Boston. ... New York LF Brett Gardner returned to the starting lineup after not starting the previous two games with a stiff neck. Manager Joe Girardi said he did not need to see Gardner go through a full round of batting practice before starting him. ... The Yankees placed RHP Branden Pinder (right elbow strain) on the 15-day disabled list and recalled RHP Nick Goody from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
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