Jake Odorizzi started for the Rays, but he didn't get to take the mound until a half-hour after the game started because the Rays hit for so long in the first.
Ben Zobrist opened the game with a single through the middle off Yankees starter Chris Capuano, the 1,000th Major League hit for Zobrist. One out later, Evan Longoria walked before Wil Myers doubled to left to drive home Zobrist.
James Loney walked and then Yunel Escobar and Logan Forsythe each singled home a run to chase Capuano. Ryan Hanigan capped the scoring with a sacrifice fly against Chase Whitley to give the Rays a 4-0 lead.
Given the way Odorizzi had been pitching, that appeared to be ample cushion for the rookie right-hander. Odorizzi's first 12 starts of the season saw him go 2-6 with a 5.31 ERA. In the 16 starts since, he'd gone 8-5 with a 2.97 ERA.
Once Odorizzi finally stepped on the mound, he made quick work of the first two hitters before Brian McCann came to the plate. The Yankees catcher entered the game hitting .600 against Odorizzi with a double and a home run. After falling behind 0-2, McCann connected for his 18th homer of the season, a blast that curled around the right-field foul pole to cut the lead to 4-1.
McCann added a two-run single in the third off Odorizzi before Chris Young homered in the fourth to tie the score at 4.
"First [home run] was just a hanging split," Odorizzi said. "It was right down the middle. I was trying to bury it, just didn't get on top of it.
"The second one was a front-door cutter. [Young] just pulled his hands in and got to it. The pitch before was the same pitch and he took it kind of weird, so I figured why not go back in there. Two bad pitches -- they took advantage of mistakes tonight. Every mistake I made, they hit hard somewhere."
Odorizzi's final undoing came in the fifth, and once again, McCann stood right in the middle of the fray. This time Odorizzi initiated the action when he hit McCann with one out. Mark Teixeira followed with a triple to right to drive home McCann, sending Odorizzi to the Rays' bench.
"I just felt like we kept battling," McCann said. "[Odorizzi] has been on a roll lately, so coming into this start we knew we had to get to him early, and we were able to do that."
Chase Headley greeted Odorizzi's replacement, Jeff Beliveau, with an RBI single to put the Yankees up, 6-4.
"I thought the big hit [of the night] was the two-out single by McCann," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "You have a base open right there. I know Teixeira was on deck. That was the pitch I think he would like to have back."
Odorizzi took his 12th loss of the season after allowing six runs on five hits in 4 1/3 innings.
"I didn't see his normal assertive fastball," Maddon said. "I just didn't see that. First inning going along swimmingly, then the home run to McCann. I just didn't see that real assertive, in the zone, try-to-get-it kind of a game from him. That was it."
Odorizzi fell on his sword afterward.
"I'm totally to blame for tonight," Odorizzi said. "The loss is on me. The whole team can point the finger in this direction. I'll accept it. I have to be accountable. We had a four-run lead, and I gave it up. And that's unacceptable."
Also culpable for the defeat was the Rays' offense. Particularly glaring was their inability to take advantage of doubles in the third, fourth and fifth innings without scoring. Longoria did add a solo home run in the ninth, giving him 20 for the season, but that was too little, too late.
"We [got] our four [runs] and then we had opportunities, and once again, the inability to drive in the run," Maddon said. "Although we did have a couple of knocks with the bases loaded, got the conga line moving a little bit, but we have to continue to add on."