ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Ben Zobrist finally got a hit with the bases loaded — and it was a big one.
Zobrist hit a game-ending single with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, lifting the Tampa Bay Rays over the New York Yankees 1-0 on Sept. 15.
With the Baltimore Orioles’ 5-2 win over Toronto, the Yankees were eliminated from AL East title contention in Derek Jeter’s final season. Mired in an 0-for-24 slump, Jeter was given the night off.
Logan Forsythe got the Rays’ third hit of the game, a one-out single in the ninth off Shawn Kelley (3-6) and went to second on James Loney’s single. After pinch-hitter David DeJesus struck out and pinch-hitter Matt Joyce walked, Zobrist lined his hit to right.
“I was fortunate that I got that fastball over the middle of the plate and was able to get it out there,” said Zobrist, who had been hitless in 11 previous at-bats this season with the bases loaded.
Joel Peralta (3-4) walked one while pitching the ninth to help Tampa Bay get its major league-leading 21st shutout of the season.
“It’s the same story,” Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner said. “We’ve been pitching really well but it’s been hard for us to score runs.”
The Rays became the first team since the 1973-75 Boston Red Sox to beat the Yankees 10 or more times in three straight seasons.
Alex Colome, recalled from Triple-A Durham by Tampa Bay before the game, allowed six hits over 6 2-3 innings in his second big league start this season.
Chris Capuano gave up two hits and four walks in six innings. The left-hander lasted just one-third of an inning in his previous start Sept. 10y, allowing four runs, four hits and two walks in the Yankees’ 8-5 come-from-behind victory over the Rays.
“Good stuff,” Rays Manager Joe Maddon said. “Well pitched on both sides.”
Chase Headley was ejected by plate umpire Marty Foster in the seventh for arguing a called strike. The Yankees third baseman played for the first time since being hit in the jaw by a pitch thrown by Tampa Bay’s Jake McGee Sept. 11.
“He questioned some strikes,” Yankees Manager Joe Girardi said. “You should be allowed to do that. I just think there’s a better way to handle it.”
Some fans started chanting “De-rek Je-ter!” while waiting to see who would hit for Headley. They responded by booing when Stephen Drew emerged from the dugout to finish the at-bat.