The Yankees may have ended their scoreless drought on Tuesday night, but their offensive woes continued as New York failed to turn scoring chances into runs in a 3-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays.
The Bronx Bombers had entered the game having dropped 10 of their last 12 games are in the middle of a stretch that has divisional rivals Tampa and Toronto on the docket. The Rays only needed three runs in the first inning to stave off the Yankees, who snapped a 22-inning scoreless streak in the fifth, but failed to build off of it.
The Yankees had been held to just one hit until the fifth inning and had been down three runs by that point.
“I thought we were a little better than last night. (Rays starter Jeffrey Springs) threw the ball well,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “Had a couple opportunities there and still just can’t break through with that big one. Part of that is Tampa pitches well. … Obviously we gotta be able to do more.”
Tuesday night marked the fourth time in New York’s last seven games that they’ve been held to one or no runs. The Yankees have been outscored 20-9 by opposing teams during that stretch.
Yankees starter Nestor Cortes pitched seven innings in the loss and allowed three runs on four hits, while striking out three. It was the second consecutive start that Cortes had given up three runs and allowed a homer.
It was his fourth loss of the season.
The Yankees saw their 10 game lead in the division drop to nine and the Rays take possession of second place in the AL East. New York caught a break with the Baltimore Orioles coming back from a 2-0 deficit to beat the Blue Jays on Tueesday night.
“Based on the type of guys we have and the type of guys filling those roles, some of our big bats are out, but we still got all the confidence in the world in eachother,” Aaron Judge said. “That’s what it comes down to. Just continuing to rely on eachother and go out there and do the job. Our pitching staff the past couple of days have helped us out, especially against some good teams and kept the score low, but we just haven’t been able to get them them big hit or guys on bae.
“But can’t mope about it, we gotta go out there and just work.”
The Rays didn’t waste much time getting onto the board on Tuesday night. Cortes gave up singles to leadoff man Yandy Diaz and Isaac Paredes to start the game giving Tampa Bay two men on base almost immediately.
The Yankees starter was able to get Harold Ramirez to fly out, but Randy Arozarena took a 1-1 pitch 389 feet to left field to give the Rays a 3-0 lead before the top of the first had even ended.
“I gave up two singles to start off the game and he beat me with my best pitch,” Cortes said about the first inning. “I gotta tip my cap. He was hunting in and he got the pitch to hit and I think it was a ball off. I couldn’t do anything about it I gave him my best pitch.”
After a fast-moving second, third and fourth, the Yankees finally broke their 22-inning scoreless streak. Miguel Andujar managed to reach base on a fielding error that drove in Andrew Benintendi, who had tripled in the previous at-bat.
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The Yankees’ fortunes looked as though they had turned as the inning continued as Isiah Kiner-Falefa battled through a 10-pitch at-bat for a walk to put runners on first and second with just one out. However, that was where it ended as Marwin Gonzalez grounded into a double play to end the New York scoring threat.
The Yankees wasted another opportunity later in the game when Josh Donaldson worked his way to third after singling on a line drive to start the seventh inning. Andujar couldn’t make lightning strike twice and struck out swinging to end the inning and strand a runner in scoring position.