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Rays' bullpen stymies Yankees in opener

MLB.com @wwchastain

ST. PETERSBURG -- Kevin Cash decided to "sell out" Friday night, and the Rays manager's strategy paid off in a 2-1 win over the Yankees at Tropicana Field.

The Rays rode the work of six relievers, matching up in critical situations, to hold the Yankees' big bats in check. The win couldn't have come at a better time for the Rays after they went 2-5 on their recent road trip to New York and Houston to play the Yankees and Astros.

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ST. PETERSBURG -- Kevin Cash decided to "sell out" Friday night, and the Rays manager's strategy paid off in a 2-1 win over the Yankees at Tropicana Field.

The Rays rode the work of six relievers, matching up in critical situations, to hold the Yankees' big bats in check. The win couldn't have come at a better time for the Rays after they went 2-5 on their recent road trip to New York and Houston to play the Yankees and Astros.

View Full Game Coverage

Using their unconventional bullpen strategy, the Rays started Ryne Stanek, who set the tone by escaping a first-inning jam before handing off to Ryan Yarbrough in the second. And four more followed, leading to Sergio Romo in the ninth.

Video: NYY@TB: Yarbrough whiffs Hicks to start the 4th

Miguel Andujar greeted Romo with a single through the hole at shortstop to start the frame. After Gleyber Torres flied out to left, Brett Gardner stepped to the plate and Romo immediately fell behind, 3-0.

Romo allowed that he scolded himself at that point.

"I'm thinking, 'No way I'm about to walk another guy,'" Romo said. "Honestly, I was just telling myself, 'Let's go. Focus. There's nobody in the league you can mess around with and take a pitch off and get away with it.'"

Video: NYY@TB: Cash on Rays' defense in 2-1 win over Yankees

Romo managed to flip the count to full.

"Once I was able to get to the full count, I said, 'This is your shot to get a ground ball,'" Romo said.

Second baseman Daniel Robertson shouted over to shortstop Willy Adames at that point.

"I told Willy, 'Let's just get one here, quick runner,'" Robertson said.

Gardner then grounded back through the middle against the shifted infield. Adames secured the ball and made a couple of awkward steps to the bag before making the relay to first to complete the game-ending double play.

Video: NYY@TB: Alvarado induces grounder to strand a pair

"In my mind, 'I gotta go get the ball and make sure of one,' because I know Gardner is fast," Adames said. "I saw that I had a chance to make the double play, so I just fired the ball."

Romo was pleased with the rookie shortstop's work, to say the least.

"It was pretty dope," Romo said. "I tried to jump for it and didn't get off the ground. So I was glad he was there. … The ball wasn't hit that hard, even though it was hit in a tough place on the field. To me, it was just cool to get a W."

Video: NYY@TB: Adames robs Didi, who stares down Adames

Playing in his first game since getting activated from the disabled list, Robertson doubled off CC Sabathia with one out in the fourth. After Carlos Gomez got hit by a pitch, Adames singled home Robertson to drive in the first run of the game.

Tampa Bay added to its lead in the fifth on C.J. Cron's sacrifice fly that scored Matt Duffy.

New York pushed across a run in the seventh on Aaron Judge's single to right off Chaz Roe that cut the lead to 2-1.

Video: NYY@TB: Cron plates Duffy with a sac fly to right

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Rays make most of Stanton's snag: In the fifth, Sabathia tried to make a play on Duffy's infield single by using his glove to flip the ball to first. Instead, the ball went over first baseman Greg Bird's head. Duffy advanced to second on the error, then moved to third on Wilson Ramos' infield single. Cron followed by hitting a ball to the wall in right. Giancarlo Stanton leaped to make the catch, robbing Cron of extra bases, but Duffy scored on the sacrifice fly. The unearned run put the Rays up, 2-0.

Video: Must C Catch: Stanton's leaping grab into the RF wall

SOUND SMART
Stanek stranded runners at the corners in the first inning, his only inning of work, to extend his scoreless streak to nine appearances, spanning 11 2/3 innings.

HE SAID IT
"They were pretty loud. We've played the Yankees and Red Sox quite a bit and they have a lot of fans who travel with them. I thought the loudest moment was when we got the final out and that's what we were concerned about. Our fans showed up and supported us." -- Cash, on the loud-at-times Yankees fans at Tropicana Field

MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
When Adames singled home the Rays' first run in the bottom of the fourth, he was called out at second on Ramos' throw after Stanton tried to get the out at the plate. The Rays challenged, and after a review of one minute, 12 seconds, the call on the field was overturned.

Video: NYY@TB: Adames safe at second on overturned call

UP NEXT
Wilmer Font will make his eighth appearance and fourth start since joining the Rays when Tampa Bay hosts the Yankees on Saturday in a 4:10 p.m. ET contest at Tropicana Field. Font pitched 4 2/3 innings on Sunday against the Yankees and allowed only a fifth-inning solo home run to Aaron Hicks. Right-hander Sonny Gray will start for New York.

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005.

Tampa Bay Rays