Rays win; Yankees vs. Tigers rain out
ARLINGTON, Texas / NEW YORK, New York (USA) -
The Tampa Bay Rays won the opening game of its best-of-five American League Division Series on Friday, as they shutout the Texas Rangers 9-0.
The opening game between the New York Yankees and Detroit Tigers was stopped halfway the second inning due to heavy rain with the score tied at 1-1 and became a suspended game.
The game was postponed to Saturday-evening and then will resume in the second inning.
The scheduled second game was moved from Saturday to Sunday, meaning there will be no day off in this Series, as it will continue on Monday in Detroit.
The Rangers and Rays also will play Saturday, which is also the day when the National League Division Series starts.
In the meantime, the Boston Red Sox and its Manager Terry Francona separated ways after eight years.
Last Wednesday, the Red Sox were beaten by the Baltimore Orioles, then moments later, the Rays defeated the New York Yankees after having trailed 7-0.
With this, the Red Sox were eliminated for the Play-Offs and the Rays captured the Wild Card.
Last year, the Red Sox also didn't qualify for the Play-Offs, but then were bothered by several injuries.
This year, Boston was having a comfortable lead over the Rays, but then collapsed in September, losing 20 games.
In his eight seasons in Boston, Francona led the team to its first two World Series-championships since 1918, breaking the legendary 'Curse of the Bambino'.
The Red Sox also reached the Play-Offs five times under Francona.
In a meeting on Friday-morning, Francona himself had stated that it was time for a different voice and that it was time for him to move on.
The club-management then agreed that it was best for Boston not to exercise the two option-years in Francona's contract for 2012 and 2013, worth almost 9 million dollars combined.
The Red Sox were 744-552 under Francona, whose name was mentioned the last days as a possible candidate to succeed Ozzie Guillen, who left the Chicago White Sox to become the new Manager of the Florida Marlins, or rather Miami Marlins, which will be their new name in the new season.
At the Marlins, Guillen succeeds 80-year old interim Manager Jack McKeon, who retired after the season.
Last Monday, Guillen asked the White Sox to be released from his contract.
Two days later, the Marlins announced he was their new Manager.
The White Sox got two Minor League-players from the Marlins as a compensation.
(© Photo: Marco Stoovelaar)
Also on Friday, the Atlanta Braves dismissed Hitting Coach Larry Parrish after its disappointing season.
Like the BoSox, the Braves had a big league over the St. Louis Cardinals, but they also were eliminated on the final day of the season with the Cards grabbing the Wild Card.
Texas Rangers vs. Tampa Bay Rays
At Arlington, the Rays struck first and early with three runs in the second inning off starter C.J. Wilson.
The lefthander hit lead-off hitter Ben Zobrist with a pitch, then gave up a 2-run homerun to Johnny Damon.
Next, Kelly Shoppach singled and advanced on a grounder, then scored on a single by Matt Joyce to make it 3-0.
The Rays added three more runs in the third inning.
With one out, Evan Longoria and Ben Zobrist singled, then scored on a 2-out, 3-run homerun by catcher Kelly Shoppach.
In the fifth inning, the Rays made it an 8-0 score.
Wilson struckout Longoria and Zobrist, but then Damon reached on an error and Shoppach followed with his second homerun.
The ninth run was added in the ninth inning when B.J. Upton walked with one out, moved on a single by Longoria and a wild pitch, then, after a pitching change, scored on a single by Damon.
22-year old lefthander Matt Moore started for the Rays and the rookie threw seven strong innings.
Only three weeks ago, Moore was recalled from the Minor League and he pitched in only three Major League-games before today.
On September 22, Moore started his first ML-game and struckout eleven batters in five innings vs. the New York Yankees.
So today was only his second ML-start and he struckout six and gave up only two basehits, which were the lone ones hit by the Rangers.
Brandon Gomes then threw the eighth (hitless) inning and struckout two.
Wade Davis pitched the ninth for the Rays.
No player of the Rangers reached third base in this game.
Moore is one of four rookie-pitchers on the roster for the Rays in this Divsion Series.
Left off the roster was Dan Johnson, who on Wednesday hit a pinch-hit homerun vs. the Yankees to tie the score in the ninth inning and force extra innings.
Instead of putting Johnson on the roster, Manager Joe Maddon opted to go with three catchers for the 5-game series.
New York Yankees vs. Detroit Tigers
At New York, the Tigers opened the score in the first inning.
Yankee-starter C.C. Sabathia started by striking out Austin Jackson and Magglio Ordoņez, but then gave up a homerun to Delmon Young.
The Yankees got the run right away in its first at bat.
Tiger-starter Justin Verlander struckout lead-off hitter Derek Jeter, but he reached on a wild pitch, then Curtis Granderson walked.
Next, the two runners advance on a grounder by Robinson Cano and did the same on a grounder by Alex Rodriguez, which tied the score.
Despite sometimes heavy rain, Sabathia retired the side in the top of the second inning (again with two strikeouts), but then the umpire crew stopped the game.
After a long delay and a meeting with officials, including (former Yankee-Manager) Joe Torre (who is now an Executive Vice President of MLB), it was decided to cancel tonight's game and resume it on Saturday.
However, more rain is expected for Saturday, meaning a double-header might be played on Sunday.