Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Yankees Taunt Rays' Mascot During Lightning Delay; Then Win

Last night, while the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays game was delayed due to a lightning strike which knocked out a bank of lights in Tropicana Field, the Yankees dugout had fun playing keep away with the Rays mascot, Raymond.

Right after a bolt of lightning zapped the domed stadium, with Robinson Cano holding a full-count at the plate, Yankees manager Joe Girardi told officials he wouldn't continue play until the field was fully illuminated.  That's when Raymond went to the Yankees side to play catch.

The Yankees own unofficial mascot, Bartolo Colon, led the heckling during the 18 minute delay before his team eventually went on to defeat the home team 5-4 after the Rays walked in the winning run.

Colon, the cuddly 260-pound pitcher, wouldn't play catch with Raymond during the fifth-inning delay until finally giving in to the fuzzy mascot.

Raymond, who has been punched out by a Baltimore Oriole player, tackled by a fan and out danced by a Cardinal mascot tossed the ball back to Yankees centerfielder Curtis Granderson, who also refused to give it back.  Raymond just left in a huff.  His team should have followed.

The Rays pounced on A.J. Burnett--pitching on eight days rest-- early and scored three runs in the first inning.  Burnett looked like his old inconsistent self.  The Rays held  a 4-2 lead until the Yankees tied it up in the eighth.

Rays starter Alex Cobb held the Yankees to three hits and two runs through six but the depleted Rays team was coming off a 16-inning loss to the Red Sox late last night and it seemed only a matter of time before the Yankees could shred through the taxed Tampa Bay bullpen.

In the top of the ninth Rays manager Joe Maddon went to his only remaining reliever, rookie Alex Torres--who was called up earlier in the day.  Torres immediately gave up a lead off single to Granderson who stole second.  Mark Teixeira struck out then a grounder by Robinson Cano moved Granderson to third.

Next, Maddon had Torres intentionally walk Nick Swisher before walking Andruw Jones to load the bases.  A 3-2 ball to Russell Martin walked in the go-ahead run.

Hector Noesi and Mariano Rivera pitched 3 2/3 innings of scoreless relief to keep Burnett from getting a loss.

Later Girardi commented about the power outage and his discussion with the umpires. " They asked me if we wanted to continue to play through it or not," said the skipper.  "I said, 'No, I don't.'  It was a big time in the game, and I want all the lights all on in that situation."

Torres wasn't exactly lights out in his first major league outing and it looks like he took the lightning express back to the minors.

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