Yankees fall to Rays, drop 1.5 behind Blue Jays
NEW YORK -- Asdrubal Cabrera drove in a pair of runs, Kevin Kiermaier connected for a run-scoring single and the Rays leaned on strong work from their bullpen to snap Nathan Eovaldi's career-best unbeaten streak with a 3-2 victory over the Yankees on Saturday at Yankee Stadium.
Four Tampa Bay relievers fired 5 1/3 scoreless frames in relief of Matt Moore -- including Xavier Cedeno, who logged five outs to earn the win. Jesus Colome escaped a bases-loaded jam in the eighth, while Brad Boxberger worked a perfect ninth for his 34th save, as the Yanks fell 1 1/2 games behind the Blue Jays for the American League East lead.
Eovaldi had gone 13 starts since his last loss on June 16, the longest unbeaten streak in the Majors this season. The right-hander had been 9-0 with a 3.32 ERA over that span, but surrendered three runs and five hits over 5 1/3 innings, walking four and striking out seven.
Didi Gregorius doubled home a fifth-inning run and Brett Gardner chipped in with an RBI groundout off Moore, who worked 4 2/3 innings in his return to the rotation following a stint in the Minors.
"There's still a lot of baseball to be played," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "It's unfortunate we didn't get it done today, but again, I like the approach, I like the way we played. We just didn't get it done."
Tampa Bay still sits 4 1/2 games back in the Wild Card race, after the Rangers beat the Angels on Saturday night.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
'Evo' can't clamp damage: Pitching coach Larry Rothschild paid Eovaldi a visit in the third inning after two walks and a hit batsman loaded the bases with one out. Eovaldi has shown the ability to wriggle out of those spots this year and struck out Logan Forsythe for the second out. But Cabrera dropped a two-run single into right field, as the Rays took a 3-0 lead.
"I just lost control of the ball. I wasn't even coming close to the strike zone," said Eovaldi, who said he did not have command of his fastball and thought his splitter was inconsistent. "I've got to do a better job of staying in attack mode."
Moore's best: Moore made his first start with the Rays since returning from Triple-A Durham, and the left-hander threw four scoreless innings before walking the leadoff batter in the fifth. That led to two Yankees runs, along with his removal. Though Moore lasted just 4 2/3 innings, his outing more closely resembled those prior to his Tommy John surgery.
Didi lines out: Gregorius has logged 26 RBIs in his last 41 games -- including an RBI double in the fifth inning -- so he brought a hot stick into a showdown with Colome in a big eighth-inning spot. New York had loaded the bases on singles by Chase Headley and Greg Bird, plus a walk by pinch-hitter Brian McCann. Gregorius smoked a liner right to Forsythe, prompting Gregorius to throw his bat in frustration.
"I just wanted to come through for the team, and it didn't happen," Gregorius said. "There's nothing I could do, I guess." More >
Longo exits early: Evan Longoria left in the sixth inning with a bruised right forearm. Throwing gave him problems after he was hit by an Eovaldi pitch in the third inning, but Longoria thinks he may be able to play on Sunday. More >
"I thought he was outstanding. I was happy for him. In my opinion, he looked like a different guy -- as far as the way he continued to pound the strike zone." -- Rays manager Kevin Cash, on Moore's outing
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Rays batters recorded seven walks, marking their fourth game this season in which they have walked at least seven times. They had nine walks on May 6 at Boston, eight on April 8 against Baltimore and seven on June 15 against Washington.
Kiermaier grounded to shortstop with two outs in the eighth and was called out at first. The Rays challenged the call and after 1 minute and 16 seconds, the call was overturned.
Yankees left-hander James Pazos retired both batters he faced in his big league debut, getting Joey Butler to fly out to center field and striking out Daniel Nava looking in the ninth inning. Pazos, 24, was selected by the Yankees in the 13th round of the 2012 Draft.
Rays: Chris Archer (12-10, 2.78 ERA) will try to continue the momentum from the six scoreless innings he threw against the Orioles in picking up the win on Monday. The outing was Archer's 10th start without allowing an earned run, which established a new team record. He is 5-0 with a 1.78 ERA in eight career starts against the Yankees. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. ET at Yankee Stadium.
Yankees: Ivan Nova (5-7, 4.50) will try to snap a three-start losing streak on Sunday, as he takes the ball against Tampa Bay at 1:05 p.m. ET at Yankee Stadium. Nova took the loss his last time out at Boston on Monday, allowing three runs and seven hits over six innings. He is 6-6 with a 3.70 ERA in 15 career games (14 starts) vs. the Rays.
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