NEW YORK — The Rays made it a clean sweep of the struggling Yankees, getting a strong five innings from Ryan Yarbrough and a huge hit from Yoshi Tsutsugo in a tense 4-2 win Sunday.
The victory was the Rays’ 15th in their past 18 regular-season games against their rabid rivals, plus they won three of five in last year’s American League Division Series.
The Rays had already clinched a sixth straight series win, and Sunday’s result gave them their second sweep of a three-game-or-more series at Yankee Stadium in two years, though just the fourth in their 24-season franchise history. The dates of the first three: Sept. 24-26, 2013; June 30–July 2, 2014; and Aug. 18-20, 2020.
With the win, Tampa Bay approved to 8-8, getting back to .500 for the first time since Monday. New York’s AL-worst record dropped to 5-10.
The Yankees struck first Sunday as Giancarlo Stanton sliced a homer to rightfield leading off the second against opener Andrew Kittredge.
The Rays took the lead with two in the third. Mike Zunino led off with a hard single to left off Yankees ace Gerrit Cole, then Kevin Kiermaier, back in the lineup after coming off the injured list Saturday, dropped a bloop single in front of Aaron Hicks in center.
Hicks did a good enough job making it look like he would catch it that Zunino started heading back to first. But when Hicks mishandled the bounce, Zunino changed directions again, and the Rays had two on.
Yandy Diaz delivered the first run, with a hard single to center. Hicks misplayed that ball also, allowing Kiermaier to go to third. And that mattered when Manuel Margot delivered a sac fly to left to make it 2-1.
Yarbrough got the Rays quickly to the fifth, but he allowed a leadoff double by Gio Urshela. Worse was a two-out walk to No. 9 hitter Kyle Higashioka, allowing dangerous leadoff man DJ LeMahieu to the plate, and he delivered the tying run.
The Rays went without a baserunner off Cole from Diaz’s single with no outs in the third to Joey Wendle’s one-out single in the seventh. And then they got a huge hit from an unlikely source, struggling Yoshi Tsutsugo lacing a double to right-center to put them back up 3-2.
Yarbrough, who came on in the second, worked five innings, allowing just two hits. Diego Castillo finished the seventh and worked the eighth.
Wendle gave the Rays insurance in the ninth with his third home run of the season, a one-out shot to right off Darren O’Day.
Jeffrey Springs pitched a perfect ninth for the first save of his career.
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