ST. PETERSBURG -- Yankees right-hander Luis Severino, the Major League wins leader with 14, endured his worst outing of the season on Monday night in a 7-6 loss to the Rays at Tropicana Field.Severino (14-3), who lost for the first time since June 10, allowed seven runs (six earned) and
ST. PETERSBURG -- Yankees right-hander Luis Severino, the Major League wins leader with 14, endured his worst outing of the season on Monday night in a 7-6 loss to the Rays at Tropicana Field.
Severino (14-3), who lost for the first time since June 10, allowed seven runs (six earned) and 11 hits in five-plus innings. Still, the Yankees nearly walked away winners, scoring three runs in the seventh inning, thanks in part to the last of Giancarlo Stanton's four hits, a two-run single with two outs. From there, though, the Rays' bullpen tightened up and the Yankees faltered when it mattered most.
Catcher Gary Sanchez took the blame for a pair of absent-minded mistakes -- two plays on which he showed an apparent lack of hustle, including the final out of the game. But it was Severino's uncharacteristically poor outing that put the Yankees in too deep a hole.
"He was just a little off,'' Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. "Obviously, there were a couple mistakes that really cost him.''
The big blow against Severino was Rays rookie first baseman Jake Bauers' tiebreaking three-run homer in the fifth inning, making it a 4-1 game. The Yankees got two runs back in the sixth, but Severino continued to unravel, giving up a solo homer to Daniel Robertson, then a double and a single before being lifted by Boone.
"I was feeling good, and everything was there,'' Severino said. "I made a couple of mistakes in the middle. [The Rays] have been playing good the last couple of weeks, so you can't make those kinds of mistakes.''
In the first inning, Severino and Sanchez got crossed up on signs. A hard-breaking slider to Ji-Man Choi skipped away from Sanchez, hitting his leg and caroming into foul territory and rolling up the third-base line. Bauers, who had just hit a two-out double, easily advanced to third but kept running when he noticed Sanchez jogging after the ball. Sanchez pushed a little harder and threw to Severino at home when he noticed Bauers' attempt to score, but it was too late; Bauers' headfirst slide beat the throw. After the inning, Severino confronted Sanchez, and they appeared to have a heated conversation in the dugout.
On the game's final play, with the bases loaded and two outs and the Yankees trailing by a run, Sanchez hit the ball to the second baseman, Robertson, who was shifted to the infield's left side. Robertson shoveled to shortstop Willy Adames, who was too late to retire sliding baserunner Aaron Hicks. But Adames threw to first, getting the slow-footed Sanchez for the final out.
The Yankees had the tying run on base in each of the last three innings but couldn't solve right-hander Ryne Stanek and Jose Alvarado, the Rays' seventh pitcher. After Stanton greeted Stanek and made it 7-6 with a two-out, two-run single in the seventh, the reliever escaped by striking out Hicks.
In the eighth, Yankees third baseman Miguel Andujar touched Stanek for a two-out single, and Rays manager Kevin Cash turned to Alvarado. On his first pitch, Alvarado coaxed pinch-hitter Brandon Drury into an inning-ending flyout.
Severino was fairly efficient through four innings, but then a tight contest came apart quickly, starting with Bauers' homer.
"I thought that the crispness of his stuff was back a little bit from maybe his previous couple of starts,'' Boone said of Severino. "Obviously, not as sharp as he would normally be. He pitched OK, with the exception of one obviously costly mistake, where Bauers got him for the big one.''
The Yankees remained winless in four games at Tropicana Field this season.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
The Yankees nearly pulled off an inning-ending double play with runners on the corners in the sixth but instead surrendered what ultimately became a key run, Tampa Bay's seventh. With the Rays leading, 6-3, Matt Duffy hit a sharp grounder to shortstop Didi Gregorius. The force play was executed on a flip to second baseman Neil Walker, whose throw to first was a step late, allowing Adames to score from third.
Stanton recorded his sixth game of four hits or more this season, the most in the Majors. It's also the highest total of at least four hits by a Yankees player since Bernie Williams had seven in 1999, and it's the most by a Yankee through 98 games since Dave Winfield (six) in 1984.
HE SAID IT
"I'm always having conversations with our guys -- positive, negative, whatever. But I have to see [on tape] what went on.'' -- Boone, on how he plans to handle Sanchez's lack of hustle
The Yankees originally thought they'd be facing Rays ace left-hander Blake Snell (12-5, 2.27 ERA) on Tuesday night, but Snell was placed on the disabled list with left shoulder tightness before Monday's game. Instead, the Rays will call up right-hander Yonny Chirinos (0-1, 3.71 ERA) to start the 7:10 p.m. ET game. The Yankees will counter with right-hander Masahiro Tanaka (7-2, 4.54 ERA).
Joey Johnston is a contributor to MLB.com based in St. Petersburg.