NEW YORK -- Corey Dickerson drove in a pair of runs and the Rays' bullpen fired five scoreless innings to salvage the finale of a four-game American League East showdown, a 5-3 victory over the Yankees on Sunday afternoon at Yankee Stadium."This was a swing game, no doubt, just by
NEW YORK -- Corey Dickerson drove in a pair of runs and the Rays' bullpen fired five scoreless innings to salvage the finale of a four-game American League East showdown, a 5-3 victory over the Yankees on Sunday afternoon at Yankee Stadium.
"This was a swing game, no doubt, just by the standings alone. You fall back another game or you get one back," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "These games are crucial to win. Hopefully, it carries into the next series."
The Yankees still hold a half-game lead over the Red Sox in the division race, with Boston losing to the Royals on Sunday, but the Rays moved a game closer to the Yankees -- now just 3 1/2 games back.
Dickerson's two-run single helped Tampa Bay win for just the third time in 11 games, sending Jordan Montgomery to the showers as the rookie left-hander was charged with four runs and six hits over just 2 2/3 innings. Trevor Plouffe and Wilson Ramos also drove in runs for the Rays before Luis Cessa entered for 3 1/3 scoreless innings of relief.
"I just couldn't make that one pitch," Montgomery said. "It's really frustrating. You want to go deeper in the game. After the last start, I thought I was starting to get a little roll going. Baseball will humble you."
Ronald Torreyes enjoyed the first three-RBI game of his career, slugging a two-run homer and a run-scoring double off starter Jacob Faria, who completed four-plus innings while walking five and striking out eight on his 24th birthday. Steve Cishek picked up the win in relief, while Alex Colome worked the ninth for his 30th save.
Despite 16 strikeouts by their hurlers, the Yankees' six-game win streak was snapped, as they finished 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position.
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"We didn't take advantage of our free baserunners," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "We had some golden opportunities in the fifth and sixth, and did not score. That was the difference in the game today."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Pleading the fifth: Tampa Bay relievers Sergio Romo and Dan Jennings were able to wriggle out of a second-and-third, none-out spot in the fifth inning to preserve the Rays' one-run lead. Even after a wild pitch opened first base, the Rays elected to pitch to Aaron Judge, who whiffed at three Romo sliders in a seven-pitch at-bat. Matthew Holliday -- in a 9-for-64 funk -- popped out to first base, and Jennings entered to get Didi Gregorius to ground to shortstop. More >
"It's just frustrating that you had an opportunity with runners on base and not able to get the job done," Holliday said. "I'm not really looking at it more than today. Today I had some opportunities and just couldn't quite get it done. It's unfortunate. I felt like we had a good chance to win that game a couple of different times."
Buying insurance: New York's bullpen pitched well after Montgomery's early exit, but Steven Souza Jr.'s eighth-inning double off Chad Green gave the Rays some cushion, especially when the Yanks got the potential winning run to the plate in the ninth. Souza Jr.'s drive to the gap in left-center field easily chased home Mallex Smith from second base after Smith had legged out an infield hit and stole second.
"Souza's hit was arguably the biggest hit of the game," Cash said, "just to give us a little bit more breathing room."
Yankees catcher Austin Romine had a painful day behind the plate. Romine was hit in the throat by a second-inning foul tip, then was drilled on the left hand by a Cishek fastball in the sixth. X-rays were negative, and Romine is considered day-to-day. More >
"This whole series was like a playoff atmosphere. … It was good to come out with that last one and have the momentum going on the rest of the season." -- Faria, on the importance of Sunday's win
Rays: The Rays visit Houston on Monday to open a four-game series with the Astros, who have the best record in the American League. Alex Cobb (9-6, 3.46 ERA) takes the ball for the Rays, having won three of his five July starts. Charlie Morton starts for Houston, with first pitch set for 8:10 p.m. ET.
Yankees: The Yankees welcome the Tigers to Yankee Stadium for a three-game series, with right-hander Luis Severino (7-4, 3.03) drawing the start for New York in Monday's 7:05 p.m. ET opener. Severino has not permitted an earned run in his past 18 innings. Right-hander Michael Fulmer, last year's AL Rookie of the Year, will start for Detroit.
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Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.
Matthew Martell is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York who covered the Rays on Sunday.