ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Among the many things that have changed since last year, one has so far remained the same: The Yankees can’t figure out the Rays.
Domingo German, in a second straight rough outing, allowed four runs in four innings as the Yankees lost their third game overall, 4-0 to Tampa Bay.
The Yankees were shutout for the first time this season in a game that also featured another poor outing by German, who looked dominant in three spring training outings after missing all of 2020 while serving an MLB ban for violating the league’s domestic violence protocols.
German has brought little of the overwhelming stuff he featured in March into April. The right-hander gave up two more home runs and has allowed four in just seven innings of work this season.
And the Yankees’ offense was no better, even though Rays starter Chris Archer was forced from the game after just 2 ¹/₃ innings due to right lateral forearm tightness.
Archer had whiffed four before he was removed after DJ LeMahieu doubled to left in the third.
Aaron Judge greeted Archer’s replacement, Andrew Kittredge with a sharp grounder up the middle, but right at second baseman Brandon Lowe, who was shifted just to the left of second base. LeMahieu moved to third with two out. A four-pitch walk to Aaron Hicks brought up Giancarlo Stanton, who struck out.
German couldn’t keep the Rays down.
Austin Meadows homered with one out in the first.
German gave up two more runs in the second. Joey Wendle and Willy Adames opened the inning with singles to center. A groundout by Brett Phillips moved the runners to second and third. Francisco Mejia followed with a comebacker that bounced off German’s glove toward first base. Jay Bruce, unsure what to do on the play, didn’t go after the ball. By the time LeMahieu chased it down, both runners had scored and the Yankees trailed, 3-0.
If German hadn’t touched it, LeMahieu likely would have made the play.
Randy Arozarena added to the lead in the third, leading off against German with a home run to center to make it 4-0.
The Yankees had a chance to score in the fourth. Brett Gardner hit a ground-rule double to left with one out. Gary Sanchez followed with a flyout to center and Gio Urshela hit a sharp grounder to shortstop, but Adames made a solid play and throw to end the inning.
Gardner helped keep German out of more trouble in the bottom of the inning by chasing down Phillips’ shot to left-center, making a fantastic backhanded catch to prevent a double.
There was a brief chance of fireworks when Justin Wilson, making his season debut after coming off the IL, hit Wendle in the side of the head with a 93-mph fastball with two outs in the fifth, but Wendle jogged to first.