Yankees’ season ends on Mike Brosseau homer off Aroldis Chapman

Yankees’ season ends on Mike Brosseau homer off Aroldis Chapman

SAN DIEGO – On the Tampa Bay Rays’ side, Mike Brosseau’s tie-breaking homer was a beautiful form of poetic justice.

From the New York Yankees’ end, it was a poorly timed, poorly located pitch during a gutty at-bat.

A month after Brosseau barely avoided a 101-mph Chapman fastball to his head, bringing the yearlong Yanks-Rays rivalry to a boil, Brosseau’s eighth-inning homer ultimately sent the Rays to the AL Championship Series.



a group of baseball players standing on top of a field: New York Yankees' Aroldis Chapman waits for a new baseball as Tampa Bay Rays' Michael Brosseau runs after hitting a solo home run during the eighth inning in Game 5 of a baseball American League Division Series, Friday, Oct. 9, 2020, in San Diego.


© Jae C. Hong, AP
New York Yankees’ Aroldis Chapman waits for a new baseball as Tampa Bay Rays’ Michael Brosseau runs after hitting a solo home run during the eighth inning in Game 5 of a baseball American League Division Series, Friday, Oct. 9, 2020, in San Diego.

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That solo shot off Chapman lifted the Rays toward a 2-1 win in the deciding Game 5 of the AL Division Series at neutral Petco Park.

Pitching for the first time on three days rest, Gerrit Cole worked out of a major first-inning jam, pitched into the sixth inning and gave up just one run – a game-tying homer by Austin Meadows.

Aaron Judge’s homer had given the Yanks an early lead, but the team that scored 31 runs over its first three postseason games this year couldn’t score again Friday night.

The Yanks managed just three hits (as did the Rays) against four pitchers, ending with Diego Castillo’s two scoreless innings.



a baseball player holding a bat: SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 09: Michael Brosseau #43 of the Tampa Bay Rays celebrates with teammates after hitting a solo home run against the New York Yankees during the eighth inning in Game Five of the American League Division Series at PETCO Park on October 09, 2020 in San Diego, California.


© Sean M. Haffey, Getty Images
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA – OCTOBER 09: Michael Brosseau #43 of the Tampa Bay Rays celebrates with teammates after hitting a solo home run against the New York Yankees during the eighth inning in Game Five of the American League Division Series at PETCO Park on October 09, 2020 in San Diego, California.

All year, the AL East champion Rays beat the Yankees at every turn, going 8-2 against them during a contentious regular season filled with high and tight pitches and plenty of dugout chirping.

And now, the Rays will move on to play the Houston Astros for the American League pennant, moving the Yankees – a preseason favorite to go to the 2020 World Series – into another unsettling early winter.

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Robbing Arozarena

Already at 93 pitches to begin the sixth inning, Cole’s 94th pitch was a heartstopper.

With the game tied 1-1, Randy Arozarena’s bid for his fourth home run of the series was negated by Gardner’s timed, leaping catch above the left field wall.

As Arozarena watched what he thought might be a go-ahead homer, Gardner and the famous San Diego marine layer conspired against the Rays.

Cole backpedaled off the mound with a look of shock on his face, until Gardner casually relayed the ball back to the infield.



a pitcher throwing a ball at a baseball game: Oct 9, 2020; San Diego, California, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Gerrit Cole (45) signals to left fielder Brett Gardner (not pictured)a fter Gardner caught a ball hit by Tampa Bay Rays left fielder Randy Arozarena (not pictured) at the fence during the sixth inning of game five of the 2020 ALDS at Petco Park.


© Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 9, 2020; San Diego, California, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Gerrit Cole (45) signals to left fielder Brett Gardner (not pictured)a fter Gardner caught a ball hit by Tampa Bay Rays left fielder Randy Arozarena (not pictured) at the fence during the sixth inning of game five of the 2020 ALDS at Petco Park.

But manager Aaron Boone was already out to take the ball from Cole, who yielded one run on one hit over 5.1 innings, with nine strikeouts on short rest.

“Whatever happens tonight, he is absolutely cut out for this,’’ Boone said of Cole’s demeanor heading into Game 5.

“He’s envisioned pitching in these kinds of games,’’ and taking on the responsibility of “being the ace of this staff.’’

Trading home runs

Pitching on two days rest after starting Game 2, Rays starter Tyler Glasnow was limited to one tour through the Yankees lineup.

Glasnow exited after 2.1 innings, aided by Nick Anderson inducing a double play grounder by DJ LeMahieu to end the third.



a baseball player holding a bat on a field: Oct 9, 2020; San Diego, California, USA; New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge (99) hits a solo home run against the Tampa Bay Rays during the fourth inning of game five of the 2020 ALDS at Petco Park.


© Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 9, 2020; San Diego, California, USA; New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge (99) hits a solo home run against the Tampa Bay Rays during the fourth inning of game five of the 2020 ALDS at Petco Park.

But leading off the fourth, Judge took Anderson over the right field wall for a 1-0 lead.

That solo shot was Judge’s third homer of the postseason and his second of this series.

And it was a welcome sight to the Yankees, who’d watched him go 2-for-27 since jolting them to a lead by homering the first inning of their first postseason game, the AL Wild Card opener at Cleveland.

Cole nearly made that run stand up, holding the Rays without a run or a hit until Meadows tagged him with two out in the fifth.

The ball barely cleared the right field wall and tied the game at 1-1.



a baseball player standing on top of a dirt field: Oct 9, 2020; San Diego, California, USA; Tampa Bay Rays designated hitter Austin Meadows (17) touches home plate in front of home plate umpire Marvin Hudson after hitting a solo home run against the New York Yankees during the fifth inning of game five of the 2020 ALDS at Petco Park.


© Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 9, 2020; San Diego, California, USA; Tampa Bay Rays designated hitter Austin Meadows (17) touches home plate in front of home plate umpire Marvin Hudson after hitting a solo home run against the New York Yankees during the fifth inning of game five of the 2020 ALDS at Petco Park.

Any fleeting chance that Judge had of making a leaping catch was thwarted by the padded roof, which Judge struck with his head, impeding his attempt.

Cole battles back 

The Yankees’ supreme confidence in Cole was summed up in a quote after Thursday’s 5-1 win in Game 4.

“That’s why we gave him all that money,’’ said Luke Voit, an unsubtle reference to Cole’s $324 million free agent contract.



a group of baseball players standing on top of a field: SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 09: Gerrit Cole #45 of the New York Yankees is taken out of the game against the Tampa Bay Rays during the sixth inning in Game Five of the American League Division Series at PETCO Park on October 09, 2020 in San Diego, California.


© Sean M. Haffey, Getty Images
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA – OCTOBER 09: Gerrit Cole #45 of the New York Yankees is taken out of the game against the Tampa Bay Rays during the sixth inning in Game Five of the American League Division Series at PETCO Park on October 09, 2020 in San Diego, California.

“He’s a stone-cold killer out there. That’s the guy I want on the mound.’’

But here was Cole, struggling to find his command in the very first inning.

He loaded the bases on two walks and a fastball that drilled Randy Arozarena (to that point batting .500 with 3 HRs in the ALDS) in the left elbow.

With two out, the Rays bench was loudly cheering on every pitch as Cole fell behind 3-and-0 on Joey Wendle.

But Cole fought back and silenced the Rays, getting Wendle looking at a 98-mph fastball down the middle.

As plate umpire Marvin Hudson signaled “strike three,’’ Cole let out a primal yell in the direction of the Rays’ bench.

“Gerrit Cole is an animal,’’ Boone said before Game 5. “He can’t wait to get out there.’’

Pete Caldera is the Yankees beat writer for NorthJersey.com. For unlimited access to all Yankees analysis, news, trades and more, please subscribe today and download our app.

Email: [email protected] Twitter: @pcaldera 

This article originally appeared on NorthJersey.com: Yankees’ season ends on Mike Brosseau homer off Aroldis Chapman

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