Longo, LoMo hit 2017's first HRs as Archer tops Yanks
By Bill Chastain and Bryan Hoch
ST. PETERSBURG -- Evan Longoria and Logan Morrison led the offense, and Chris Archer fired seven strong innings on Opening Day as the Rays defeated the Yankees, 7-3, on Sunday afternoon at Tropicana Field.
The Rays jumped on Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka early, scoring three in the first and adding two in the second and two in the third to take a 7-2 lead. Longoria and Morrison each homered and drove in three runs; Longoria's two-run shot in the second inning was his fourth career Opening Day homer, extending his franchise record.
"It feels good, but it is one game," Morrison said. "We've got 161 more. If every game was like this, then I think I'd be a Hall of Famer and a really rich man."
Tanaka allowed a career-high seven earned runs on eight hits and two walks before exiting after just 2 2/3 innings.
"It's tough," Tanaka said through an interpreter. "From Day 1 of Spring Training, I was looking forward to this day. I obviously wanted to go out there and give a strong performance, but I just wasn't able to do that today."
Archer handcuffed the Yankees, allowing two runs on seven hits and a walk while striking out five. The only blip on his line came in the second, when Starlin Castro and Chase Headley cobbled together one-out singles and scored on Aaron Judge's double to left and Ronald Torreyes' grounder to cut the Rays' lead to 3-2.
"I think the tone was set by the way Arch came out and really was under control of himself and the game," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "Even the first two runs they scored, he had some awkward plays behind him. He didn't let it snowball and just kept it right there. And the offense, a tremendous job, but I think it all starts with Arch."
It was the Yankees' sixth consecutive Opening Day loss, a franchise record. The Bombers dropped five straight openers from 1934-38. The Rays improved to 3-1 all-time on Opening Day against the Yankees.
No spring in Tanaka's step: After holding opponents to just one earned run over 23 2/3 spring innings (0.38 ERA), Tanaka surrendered a career-high seven earned runs, throwing just 67 pitches before being knocked out in the third inning. Powered by Morrison's two-run single in the first inning and homer in the third inning, Tampa Bay handed Tanaka his first loss in nine career starts against the Rays. It was the shortest Opening Day start by a Yankee since Ron Guidry on April 5, 1983. Guidry also lasted 2 2/3 innings in a 5-4 loss at Seattle.
"There could be days where you don't have your great stuff, but usually because of his command, you can find a way to get through it," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "Today he didn't have his command. It's hard to figure out. It's one game, don't make too much of it, and [Tanaka will get] back to work on Saturday."
Archer gets El Gary: The Yankees had an opportunity to get back into the game in the seventh inning, as the Rays allowed Archer to navigate a fourth time through the lineup. Brett Gardner's two-out single loaded the bases and brought up Gary Sanchez, batting second in Girardi's new-look lineup. The phenom worked a six-pitch at-bat, narrowly missing an extra-base hit down the right-field line that landed just foul, before Archer used his 108th and final pitch to get Sanchez to ground out.
"I want [the other pitchers on the staff] to know when stuff gets hairy, you need to strap it on and go right after them," Archer said. "We don't need to be bailed out. We need to get out of the inning."
The Yankees made the first challenge of the season when Matt Holliday grounded out to second base for the third out of the first inning. Following a review, the call on the field was ruled to stand. The Rays challenged Castro's infield single in the second inning, which was also ruled to stand.
Both teams were credited with unlimited crew chief reviews during Sunday's game due to pregame technical difficulties with the Yankees' equipment.
WHAT'S NEXT Yankees:CC Sabathia (9-12, 3.91 ERA in 2016) will have the ball for the Yankees' second game of the season at 7:10 p.m. ET on Tuesday in St. Petersburg. The veteran lefty is beginning his 17th Major League season, doing so as the active leader in strikeouts (2,726), complete games (38) and quality starts (290).
Rays:Jake Odorizzi (10-6, 3.69 in 2016) will make his first start of 2017. Odorizzi went 2-1 with a 2.29 ERA in three starts against the Yankees last season. Odorizzi went 7-1 with a 2.71 ERA after the All-Star break in '16.