Tampa Bay 5, NY Yankees 3
When: 1:10 PM ET, Sunday, July 31, 2016
Where: Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida
Jeff Nelson, 1B -
Doug Eddings, 2B -
Lazaro Diaz, 3B -
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- This wasn't how the Yankees wanted to come home to New York on Monday.
Sunday morning brought the trade of reliever Andrew Miller, then a 5-3 loss to the last-place Tampa Rays to complete a three-game sweep. Yankees manager Joe Girardi went so far as to say he'd welcome the distraction of a four-game, home-and-home series with the Mets, starting at Citi Field.
"It's tough. We felt like we were making progress," Girardi said. "We had a good homestand, then win the first two in Houston. Then we come out, lose Wednesday going into an off day and then you get swept. It's tough but you've got to bounce back."
Rays rookie Blake Snell (3-4) struck out nine in 5 1/3 innings, and the deciding runs came on a two-out, two-run single from catcher Luke Maile after the Yankees intentionally walked the No. 8 hitter in the Rays' lineup.
"Obviously, it's a great feeling to help the team win," Maile said. "Defense is something I take a lot of pride in, but any time the offense clicks, it's a good feeling."
The Rays (42-61) matched their season high with a four-game winning streak, while the Yankees (52-52) are back at .500 after dropping their fourth straight. Alex Colome pitched a perfect ninth to earn his 25th save and third in as many days.
"We played really good baseball this weekend and it showed in the amount of wins we got," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "Feels good to get back on a nice winning run, to be at home and get a sweep."
The Rays scored two runs in the sixth inning when a strategic move by Girardi backfired.
With runners at second and third and two outs, the Yankees intentionally walked Nick Franklin, the Rays' No. 8 hitter, to get to Maile, who had struck out with the bases loaded to end the second inning. But Maile, hitting just .182 with three RBIs in 33 at-bats, took the first pitch up the middle for a two-run single and a 5-2 lead. The hit scored Steven Souza Jr., who had doubled to start the inning, and Kevin Kiermaier, who had reached on a walk.
Snell, who faced the Yankees in his major-league debut in April, looked sharp Sunday, striking out five straight batters in the first two innings. By the fifth, he had matched his career high with nine strikeouts while preserving a shutout, thanks to stellar defense behind him.
New York had two on and one out in the third, and Snell got Jacoby Ellsbury to hit into a double play, with shortstop Brad Miller fielding a high chopper, stepping on the bag and throwing to first to end the inning. In the fourth, the Yankees loaded the bases with one out on two singles and a walk, but Snell got Didi Gregorius to ground into a 4-6-3 double play to get out of another jam.
"We had our chances today," Girardi said. "We just didn't get the huge hit when we needed it."
The Rays finally got to Yankees starter Michael Pineda (5-10) in the fourth inning after being limited to one hit in the first three innings. Corey Dickerson beat the shift with an opposite-field single, then advanced on a Souza double that went off the end of Gregorius' glove at shortstop. From there, the Rays scored two runs without a hit, with RBI groundouts from Kiermaier and Tim Beckham for a 2-0 lead. Miller added a solo home run -- his 17th, and second in as many days -- for a 3-0 lead in the fifth.
Snell pitched into the sixth inning, but ran into trouble, walking Ellsbury and giving up a two-run home run to Carlos Beltran -- his 22nd of the season -- to cut the lead to 3-2.
Rays reliever Brad Boxberger pitched for just the second time this season, having been sidelined by adductor surgery this spring. He pitched a scoreless seventh inning for the Rays, giving up two singles with two outs but getting Beltran to strike out to end the inning. He had pitched once May 31 before returning to the disabled list.
NOTES: Before Sunday's game, the Yankees announced two trades, including a major deal to send reliever LHP Andrew Miller to the Indians. In return, Cleveland sent the Yankees two of their top prospects in OF Clint Frazier and LHP Justus Sheffield, as well as RHP minor-leaguers Ben Heller and J.P. Feyereisen. Frazier, the Indians' first-round pick in 2013 and their No. 2 prospect according to Baseball America, was hitting .273 with 13 home runs and 13 steals, mostly in Double-A as a 21-year-old. Sheffield, the Indians' 2014 first-round pick and Baseball America's No. 4 prospect in their system, was 7-5 with a 3.59 ERA at High Class-A, with 93 strikeouts in 95 innings. The trade came after closer Aroldis Chapman was dealt to the Cubs, leaving RHP Dellin Betances as the only remaining part of a dominant back end of the bullpen. ... The Yankees also acquired RHP Tyler Clippard from the Arizona Diamondbacks to bolster their bullpen, giving up minor league RHP Vicente Campos. Clippard, 31, was drafted by the Yankees in 2003 and made his debut with New York in 2007, going 3-1 in six starts before he was traded to the Nationals. ... The Rays made no moves before Sunday's game, but INF Steve Pearce, widely speculated as a trade target for contenders, had the day off. The Rays had a non-traditional defense, with Nick Franklin playing at first for just the second time this season and Tim Beckham at second, with Logan Forsythe getting some rest as the DH, filling that role for the fourth time this season.
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