Yankees offense lifeless again vs. red-hot Rays, drop fourth-straight

Austin Meadows Yankees Rays
Tampa Bay Rays designated hitter Austin Meadows (17) hits a home run during the fourth inning against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium.
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

It was bad enough that the New York Yankees were still licking their wounds from being swept by the lowly Detroit Tigers. Then they had to host the scorching-hot Tampa Bay Rays.

The Yankees lost their fourth straight on Memorial Day, a 3-1 decision to the Rays, who have now won 16 of their last 17 games as they try to create some distance as leaders of the American League East.

Rich Hill continued to shut down a Yankees offense that had averaged just two runs per game over their last six outings. The 41-year-old southpaw went five scoreless innings, while four Rays relievers went the final four.

Meanwhile, Jameson Taillon was touched up for all three runs on the day to stymie any sort of momentum gained from his last start — a five-inning scoreless outing against the Chicago White Sox last week.

After Kevin Kiermaier led the third inning off with a single, he was doubled home by Manuel Margot to get the Rays on the board.

Aaron Judge made a bid to draw the Yankees level in the bottom half of the frame, but his shot to right field fell into Margot’s glove on the right-field warning track to end the third.

The very first batter of the fourth inning, Austin Meadows, doubled the Rays’ lead with a towering home run down the right-field line, his 12th of the season. It was also his third round-tripper in his last four games. Tampa would add another in the fifth when Randy Arozarena’s two-out single drove home Kiermaier, who led off the inning with a double.

Taillon’s day came to an end in the sixth after Yandy Diaz reached first on a throwing error by Gleyber Torres and Taylor Walls walked with no outs. Manager Aaron Boone called upon reliever Lucas Luetge to limit the damage, and he did just that, striking out Mike Zunino before getting Kiermaier to ground out and Margot to line out.

Miguel Andujar finally got the Yankees on the board in the seventh off Michael Wacha when he smacked a two-out solo home run into the right-field bleachers.

Rays manager Kevin Cash lifted Wacha for Pete Fairbanks, who walked Gary Sanchez, but he struck out Brett Gardner to get out of the jam.

The Yankees made one final push in the ninth when Rougned Odor lined a two-out double down the right-field line, but J.P. Feyereisen got Andujar to strike out to close things out.

Monday was the ninth time in the last 12 games that the Yankees scored just two runs or fewer. That has not been done by the franchise since 1971.