- Associated Press - Saturday, April 23, 2016

NEW YORK (AP) - Once his balk put runners at second and third, Matt Moore decided to work out of a full windup.

He felt more at ease that way. So did Jacoby Ellsbury.

Moore and the Tampa Bay Rays could do little once Ellsbury bolted for the plate, stealing home Friday night and helping send the New York Yankees to a 6-3 win.

“Matt’s got a long, deliberate windup, and he didn’t catch him in time,” catcher Curt Casali said.

“I was trying to do anything to stop the play, but I guess I can’t call time in the middle of a steal of home attempt,” he said.

Logan Forsythe doubled twice, drove in two runs and scored for the Rays, who had won four of five.

Tampa Bay took a 3-2 lead into the fifth inning before Ellsbury became the first Yankee to pull off a straight steal of home since Derek Jeter in 2001. Ellsbury’s timing was really surprising: He took off with two outs on a full-count pitch to Brett Gardner, who let it go high for ball four.

“Thinking back about it, which I’ve had about an hour and a half now, just if I just throw a strike right there, Gardner has a real tough decision to make,” Moore said.

“There’s a reason starting pitchers go out of the windup when there’s nobody on base. It’s where you set your rhythm, that’s a little bit more comfortable right there,” he said.

Ellsbury added a two-run double in eighth. Brian McCann hit an early two-run homer, then sliced a tiebreaking single in the sixth as the Yankees ended a three-game losing skid.

Ivan Nova (1-0) won in relief of CC Sabathia. Dellin Betances struck out all three batters in the eighth and Andrew Miller closed for his fourth save as a light sprinkle fell.

New York had managed only 18 runs in its past eight games and was desperately trying to find ways to score. Ellsbury provided it in most unusual fashion.

Ellsbury singled with two outs in the fifth and Didi Gregorius followed with a single off Moore (1-1). A balk moved the runners to second and third while Gardner was batting.

With the infield playing back and the count full, the speedy Ellsbury started wandering down the line. When the left-handed Moore went into a full windup, Ellsbury broke for the plate.

Gardner stood in the left-handed batter’s box as Ellsbury hurtled toward him. Had Gardner swung, who knows what might’ve happened - a foul ball could have nailed the defenseless Ellsbury from extremely close range, or a big backswing could’ve hit him.

“If I throw strike three and Gardner sees Jacoby running down the line at him, he’s probably not going to swing at it because it’s a pretty dangerous play,” Moore said.

Instead, Gardner took the fastball high as Ellsbury made a headfirst dive, his right hand barely reaching the plate under Casali’s tag. The crowd cheered even louder when a replay was shown after the inning ended.

“It was a good play for them,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “Not good for us.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Rays: OF Kevin Kiermaier didn’t start and Cash said “we got to be smart” and rest him once in a while. The day off came on Kiermaier’s 26th birthday. “Happy birthday, K.K.,” Cash said.

LET THEM SCORE

Forsythe’s bases-loaded double in the second gave Tampa Bay a 2-0 lead. Of the 10 games at Yankee Stadium this season, the team that has scored first is 0-10.

UP NEXT

Rays: Top pitching prospect Blake Snell is being called up from Triple-A Durham to make his big league debut. The 23-year-old lefty was a combined 15-4 with a 1.41 ERA at three levels of the minors last season.

Yankees: RHP Masahiro Tanaka (1-0, 3.06) makes his fourth start and will pitch on five days’ rest. He’s 2-0 in three career starts vs. the Rays.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times is switching its third-party commenting system from Disqus to Spot.IM. You will need to either create an account with Spot.im or if you wish to use your Disqus account look under the Conversation for the link "Have a Disqus Account?". Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide