ST. PETERSBURG -- Tommy Pham's offense proved to be the difference in an 8-7 Rays win over the Yankees on Wednesday night at Tropicana Field.The Rays, who were eliminated from postseason contention on Monday, moved to 88-70 on the season, and they will look to earn a series split with
ST. PETERSBURG -- Tommy Pham's offense proved to be the difference in an 8-7 Rays win over the Yankees on Wednesday night at Tropicana Field.
The Rays, who were eliminated from postseason contention on Monday, moved to 88-70 on the season, and they will look to earn a series split with the Yankees on Thursday afternoon.
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Pham's solo home run in the third gave him 21 for the season -- seven with the Rays -- while putting Tampa Bay up, 4-3. He then drew a leadoff walk to start the eighth and scored on C.J. Cron's double to center field. The Rays added three more runs in the inning to give them a five-run cushion that proved critical.
Tampa Bay acquired Pham from the Cardinals just prior to the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. He has hit safely in 27 of his last 28 games, batting .398 over that span. The Rays are 25-10 with Pham in the starting lineup.
"[Pham has] been outstanding for us," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "Look forward to finishing the year and hopefully picking right up where he left off come Opening Day."
Pham hit .248 with 14 home runs and 41 RBIs for the Cardinals.
"In St. Louis, I wasn't really doing a good job of using the whole field like I'm doing right now," Pham said. "I was hitting them hard, but they were all pull side and most of them were on the ground. I'm starting to figure out how to drive the ball consistently here and using the whole field. That helps create your luck."
Holding an 8-3 lead, the Rays hung on in the ninth when Sergio Romo allowed four runs, but came away with his 24th save. He entered the game to record an out in the eighth with the Rays leading, 4-3.
Neil Walker's three-run homer in the first off Rays starter Ryne Stanek put the Yankees up, 3-0. The Rays answered with three runs in the bottom half of the inning on RBI singles by Joey Wendle and Willy Adames, and they got some help from Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka, whose throwing error allowed another run to score.
Romo threw 41 pitches in his 1 1/3 innings, which was the third-highest number of pitches he's thrown in a single outing in his career. He became the first pitcher in Rays franchise history to allow four runs or more and record a save, and the first pitcher in the Major Leagues to do so in an appearance of 1 1/3 innings or fewer since Seattle's Mike Timlin did so on Aug. 24, 1998.
HE SAID IT
"We came out and played and showed that we were playing for a lot. To get down, 3-0, and get right back in against Tanaka, a really good pitcher, it shows a lot." -- Cash
MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
The Yankees challenged in the fourth after Mallex Smith was called safe at first base on the back end of a 1-6-3 double-play attempt. After a review, the call was overturned, which ended the inning.
The Rays won a challenge in the eighth after Jake Bauers was called out on a force play at second. After a replay review, the call was overturned, and Bauers eventually scored the Rays' final run.
Jaime Schultz will start Thursday afternoon when the Rays host the Yankees in a 1:10 p.m. ET contest at Tropicana Field. He has allowed at least one walk in 11 of his 21 appearances this season. Left-hander Carsten Sabathia will start for the Yankees in the finale of the four-game series.
Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005.