SAN DIEGO – Mike Brosseau homered off Aroldis Chapman with one out in the eighth inning and the Tampa Bay Rays beat the New York Yankees 2-1 Friday night to reach the AL Championship Series for the first time in 12 seasons.
The first career postseason homer for the 26-year-old utilityman came after a 10-pitch at-bat against the Yankees’ vaunted, hard-throwing closer, who entered the game in the seventh inning. Brosseau drove a 100 mph fastball into the left-field seats at Petco Park for just the third hit for the Rays.
Tampa Bay won the AL Division Series 3-2 and will stay in San Diego to face the Houston Astros in the AL Championship Series starting Sunday night. The Rays are in the ALCS for the first time since 2008, when they beat the Boston Red Sox in seven games before losing to the Philadelphia Phillies in the World Series.
Brosseau and Chapman have a history: Chapman threw a 101 mph fastball near Brosseau’s head Sept. 1 in the ninth inning of the Rays’ 5-3 victory. Chapman likely had nothing against Brosseau personally, but the pitch was an apparent escalation of a feud between the AL East rivals, and it prompted Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash’s declaration that he has “a whole damn stable full of guys that throw 98 miles an hour.”
“No revenge, We put that in the past,” Brosseau said. “We came here to win the series. We came here to move on, to do what we do best, that’s play our game.”
The Rays were eliminated by the Astros in the ALDS last year.
“They’ve been the team to beat the last few years,” Brosseau said. “They knocked us out last year so it will be fun to face them again.”
After Brosseau went undrafted, the Rays signed him in June 2016 for $1,000.
All-Star Austin Meadows also homered for the Rays, connecting off ace Gerrit Cole in the fifth. Aaron Judge tried to make a leaping catch but jammed his head into a padded overhang.
The Rays had 11 homers in the series and the Yankees 10.
Judged homered in the fourth. The Yankees also had only three hits.
Cole, starting on short rest for the first time in his major league career, struck out nine in 5 1/3 innings.
Winner Diego Castillo followed a hitless eighth with a 1-2-3 ninth, and the celebration was on for the Rays, who dominated the regular-season series against the Yankees 8-2. They took a 2-1 lead in the ALDS before the Yankees forced the deciding fifth game.
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe to the sports newsletter
Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.