It was truly a banner day in St. Petersburg as the Tampa Bay Rays revealed their 2020 AL East and American League Champion banners inside Tropicana Field before the 2021 home opener.
The Rays, in front of just over 9,000 fans, continued their winning ways against the New York Yankees, defeating their AL East foes, 10-5.
Things have been less than stellar for New York when coming to Tropicana Field as the Yankees are now 42-59 at the Trop since the start of 2010.
Rich Hill bounced back in his first home start in a Rays uniform, giving up four earned runs and striking out seven in six innings of work, good enough for his first win of the season.
Willy Adames looks to be getting the hitting train rolling as he went 2-for-4 with a double and opposite-field home run, driving in two.
Eight Rays players scored a run, seven recorded a hit and six drove in a run in the win, which looked dicey after the top of the third.
Defensive errors led to runs for both teams, two for the Rays in the bottom of the second and four for the Yankees in the top of the third.
Adames, who had a great day at the plate, nearly was the cause for a dominant Yankees win as he cut off a ball that looked to be an easy play for third baseman Joey Wendle.
However, the play was botched and the Yankees would take advantage of a few meatballs from Hill for a four-run third inning, including a two-run home run from Aaron Hicks and a two-run single from Giancarlo Stanton.
The Rays rebounded in the bottom half of the third with a three-spot, courtesy of working the count against Yankees starter Corey Kluber, who didn’t get out of the third inning.
Joey Wendle once again came up clutch with a two-run double to give the Rays a 5-4 lead after Randy Arozarena cut the deficit to 4-3 with an RBI single.
That lead was extended to 9-4 in the fourth as Brandon Lowe cleared the bases with a three-run double, coming home on a Yandy Diaz RBI single.
Adames’ home run came in the seventh, and shut down innings from Hunter Strickland, who made his Rays debut, and Chris Mazza secured the home opener victory for Tampa Bay.
Strickland looked good on the mound, throwing two great innings, making one mistake after LeMahieu took him deep in the eighth.
The Rays and Yankees continue their series on Saturday afternoon, first pitch at 1:10 PM EST.