NEW YORK -- Right-hander Nathan Eovaldi found himself in familiar territory Friday night at Yankee Stadium. After all, he pitched for the Bronx Bombers from 2015-16.In his first start at Yankee Stadium since Aug. 4, 2016, Eovaldi worked 7 1/3 innings, but the Rays were blanked by the Yankees, 5-0.
NEW YORK -- Right-hander Nathan Eovaldi found himself in familiar territory Friday night at Yankee Stadium. After all, he pitched for the Bronx Bombers from 2015-16.
In his first start at Yankee Stadium since Aug. 4, 2016, Eovaldi worked 7 1/3 innings, but the Rays were blanked by the Yankees, 5-0. It marked the fourth time the Rays were shut out this season.
Eovaldi had given up just two runs before running out of steam in the eighth inning. In the third inning, Eovaldi allowed a solo homer to Didi Gregorius, and in the sixth, Aaron Judge scored the second run on a sac fly by Giancarlo Stanton.
"I felt I had good command of my fastball, cutter and slider tonight," Eovaldi said. "I felt like I was able to throw it in the zone when I needed to. I wanted to work the cutter in to lefties … because a lot of those guys are so aggressive. The results are what they are, but I felt I threw a lot better than what it showed."
Eovaldi left the game with the bases loaded and one out in the eighth. In came left-hander Jonny Venters, who struck out Greg Bird but allowed a three-run double to Gary Sanchez. Those runs were charged to Eovaldi.
"He did really well," Rays manager Kevin Cash said of Eovaldi. "We are going to end up winning a ballgame really soon because of his performance to save the bullpen. It was unfortunate how the last inning played out. What a tremendous performance. Unfortunately, [the Yankees] were just a little bit better. But I couldn't be more impressed with the way Nate threw the ball."
Meanwhile, the Rays missed on their chances to score against right-hander Jonathan Loaisiga, who was making his Major League debut. Take the fourth inning: The Rays had the bases loaded with two outs, but Christian Arroyo struck out to end the threat. Loaisiga ended up pitching five innings, with three hits, six strikeouts and four walks.
Bench coach Charlie Montoyo told Cash that Loaisiga reminded him of a young Mariano Rivera.
"Hopefully, he doesn't develop a cutter or anything," Cash said. "A talented young kid. He was very poised. He comes in and I think he had four walks in 60 innings [in the Minor Leagues]. The walks were sprinkled in there, but the stuff -- wow. What do you do against a young pitcher making his debut? It doesn't matter when you have that type of stuff. You are able to throw it at will."
The Rays are 4-11 since May 31. They have lost eight consecutive road games, their longest road losing streak since dropping 11 in a row in 2016.
Right-hander Ryne Stanek will get the start, his fifth of the season, on a bullpen day for the Rays against the Yankees on Saturday (1:05 p.m. ET). His average fastball velocity this year is 98.2 mph, according to Statcast™. Stanek's opponent will be right-hander Luis Severino, who is tied for second in the American League in wins with nine. Severino is 6-1 with a 2.77 ERA in his career against the Rays.
Bill Ladson has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2002. He covered the Nationals/Expos from 2002-16. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.