Things didn’t look good. Randy Johnson had given up back-to-back home runs and the Yankees were losing 5-0. They managed to score a run, but the Devil Rays added two more. By the middle of the fifth inning Tampa had a 10-2 lead and the Yankees were looking at a second straight loss to a team 22 games under .500.
Then things started to turn around. Gary Sheffield hit a three-run homer and the Yankees were down by only five runs. Derek Jeter added a solo shot to pull them within three runs. After Tampa got one last run, the stage was set for a Yankee eruption. Down 11-7 in the eighth, the Yankees scored 13 times hitting four home runs, three of them consecutively, and sending sixteen batters to the plate. By the time it was over the Yankees had a 20-11 win and their biggest victory of the year.
Cynics will say that beating the Devil Rays is no great accomplishment, but this victory showed a spirit that has been sorely lacking in the Yankees this year. They survived a terrible performance by their supposed ace and some shaky work by their bullpen. Through all their ups and downs this year they are still only five games out with more than half the schedule to be played. The question is, was this a sign of things to come or just a fluke occurrence?
Photo by Ed Betz/AP via ESPN