Bronx, NY—-The NY Yankees know if they want to go deep in the playoffs they need to get past the Tampa Bay Rays. But it won’t be easy, the Rays have a very potent batting lineup.
The Yankees got back to reality on Thursday night when they were beat down by the first-place Rays in an 8-2 loss to open the series in the Bronx.
Domingo Germán (2-3) didn’t pitch bad but fell behind in the fifth inning first baseman Anthony Rizzo let Lowe’s grounder bounce off his glove for an error and Yandy Díaz then hit a two-out RBI double.
Germán gave up two runs — one earned — and three hits in 5 2/3 innings. The Bronx Bombers just outscored the Oakland Athletics 28-10 in a three-game sweep, failed provide any runs for Germán for his second straight start.
After going 1 for 20 with runners in scoring position while losing two of three in Baltimore, Tampa Bay were 0 for 4 with RISP before Lowe’s two-out double off the base of the wall in right-center.
“It’s tough,’’ Aaron Judge said of another defeat at the hands of the Rays. “This team is sitting at the top of the AL East. We have to try and gain some ground on them.”
With the loss, Yankees fell to 21-18, nine games behind Tampa Bay (30-9), which became the first team since the 1984 Tigers to win 30 of its first 39 games.
Germán threw 87 pitches — and Ron Marinaccio entered and gave up a single to Luke Raley and hit Manuel Margot to load the bases for Josh Lowe, who hit a bases-clearing double to center to make it 4-0.
Albert Abreu gave up an RBI double to Taylor Walls in the seventh and Ryan Weber was hit very hard in the eighth and gave up three runs after being called up from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
The bullpen, which entered the game with the lowest ERA in the majors, ended up giving up six earned runs in 3 ¹/₃ innings and Marinaccio, who had given up just four hits in his first 12 appearances this season, has allowed five in his last three times on the mound.
Drew Rasmussen (4-2) kept the NY Yankees off balance with his changeup and extended his scoreless streak against the Bombers to 21 innings.
Rasmussen allowed just a pair of weak singles to Jake Bauers and has been a pain in the Yankees side. He pitched 21 scoreless innings against the Yankees in four appearances — three starts — with 26 strikeouts.
“We haven’t solved him yet,’’ Aaron Boone said. “He had his way.”
Tampa Bay has scored the most runs (239) in the big leagues and allowed the fewest (118).
“It’s really cool to see the things we’ve been able to do over the first month and a half,” Rasmussen said. “It’s nice to create a little space if we can, but by no means do I think they’ll be buried.”
RHP Gerrit Cole (5-0), who failed to hold a six-run lead at Tampa Bay last weekend, starts Friday against RHP Trevor Kelly (0-1), an opener ahead of LHP Josh Fleming (0-0).