The Tampa Bay Rays were looking to finish off a three-game sweep of the New York Yankees. They entered the day just four games back in the American League East, with a month to play. That made Sunday’s game crucial to both teams. New York led most of the way, but the Rays had a chance in the ninth to turn the tables.

Rays third baseman Yandy Diaz came to the plate in the bottom of the ninth inning with runners on second and third with two outs. Diaz worked the count full and struck out looking on a 102 mile-per-hour pitch from Clay Holmes. Afterward, Diaz went berserk, slamming his helmet into the ground.

The Holmes pitch certainly appeared to be below the strike zone. But you know the age old saying, ‘with two strikes swing at anything close.’  He didn’t do that.

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With the win, the Yankees avoided the sweep and salvaged a win in the three-game series. The Rays loss drops them five games behind the Yankees in the AL East. Had they pulled out the comeback victory, they would have been just three games back with a ton of baseball left to play.

Instead, the Yankees bought themselves a little space in the division.

The Rays are still in good position to make a playoff spot. They are a game ahead of the Toronto Blue Jays, who is currently in the final wild card spot. The Baltimore Orioles are the closest team chasing, who are 3.5 games back of Tampa Bay.

Nevertheless, this loss must sting. The Rays had a real chance to put pressure on New York the final month after trimming a once 15.5 game divisional lead. Instead, it appears they will have to settle for a wild card.