In what might be a MLB first the Rays-Yankees game was delayed for five minutes in the home first because of a drone moving over the Stadium.
With Charlie Morton facing Luke Voit and the count, 1-1, the Rays players started moving off the field as they looked and pointed to the sky. When play resumed Voit hit Morton’s first pitch on the ground to third for the inning’s second out.
Brett Gardner is in a deep hitting funk but his numbers against Morton were too good to keep the left-handed hitter out of Wednesday night’s lineup in the Yankees’ 5-2 loss to the Rays.
Gardner took a .381 (8-for-21) average into the game against the right-handed Morton who missed the previous 3½ weeks due to a shoulder issue. Gardner also had three homers off Morton. The three homers are tied for the most home runs Morton has allowed to a single batter (also Jay Bruce, Starlin Castro and Mitch Moreland).
Befitting of his troubles at the plate all season Gardner struck out on a 1-2 pitch in the only at-bat Wednesday against Morton.
Morton, who was activated from the IL (right shoulder problem) on Wednesday, made his first since facing the Yankees on Aug. 9 in St. Petersburg when he left after two innings.
Even though the umpires didn’t deliver pregame warnings to either team, crew chief Chad Fairchild ejected Yankees reliever Ben Heller in the fifth inning after he hit Hunter Renfroe with a pitch. After Aroldis Chapman buzzed Mike Brosseau’s head with a triple-digit fastball Tuesday night the umpires were on high alert.
“Obviously we aren’t trying to hit anybody. Our starter came out of the game early,’’ bench coach Carlos Mendoza, who was filling in for Aaron Boone who served his one-game suspension. “No way we were trying to hit people there.’’
Mendoza was alluding to starter Jordan Montgomery not getting out of the first inning.
Boone was spotted during the game sitting alone in a suite seat.
Boone wasn’t ready to name his starting pitchers for Friday’s doubleheader in Baltimore but count on Deivi Garcia starting one of the two games.
“Deivi most likely will be one of them,’’ Boone said.
Garcia impressed in his major league debut Sunday against the Mets when he allowed an unearned run and four hits in six innings of a 5-2 Yankees victory.
Boone has 223 wins as the Yankees’ manager. That is one shy of Lou Piniella’s 224 which was good for 10th place on the Yankees’ all-time list.