By LARRY FLEISHER, Associated Press
NEW YORK (AP) — Randy Arozarena hit a three-run homer off Nestor Cortes in the first inning and the Tampa Bay staff made it stand up, leading the Rays over the skidding New York Yankees 3-1 Tuesday night.
Starter Jeffrey Springs (5-3) and four relievers combined on a four-hitter, and the crowd of 41,083 at Yankee Stadium booed their AL East leaders at times.
The Yankees have lost 11 of 13 and are 8-17 since reaching the All-Star break at 64-28.
Tampa Bay got only four hits while winning its fourth straight and closing within nine games of the Yankees — New York’s smallest margin since also being nine ahead on June 15. The Rays trailed by 15 1/2 games after getting swept at Cincinnati July 8-10.
New York lost its fifth straight series and was held to three runs or less for the seventh straight game.
New York avoided being blanked in three straight games for the first time since 2016 when Andrew Benintendi tripled in the fifth and scored on a fielding error by third baseman Yandy Díaz on a grounder by Miguel Andújar.
Some fans booed when Andújar struck out to end the seventh with Josh Donaldson on third, and there were more when Jose Trevino struck out to end the game.
Díaz and Issac Paredes started the game with singles. One out later, Arozarena gave the Rays a 3-0 lead by lifting a 1-1 fastball into the left field seats for his 16th homer. It was Arrozarena’s fourth homer in five games after the right fielder went homerless in 16 straight games.
Cortes (9-4) allowed three runs and four hits in seven innings. He struck out three, walked none and retired 19 of his final 21 hitters.
Springs (5-3) got 10 outs on the ground and held New York to one run and two hits in five innings.
Pete Fairbanks pitched a perfect sixth, Brooks Raley got the first two outs of the seventh after Donaldson singled and Shawn Armstrong got the next three outs.
Jason Adam needed four pitches to retire major league home run leader Aaron Judge with a runner on to end the eighth.
Adam also fanned two in a perfect ninth for his seventh save.
Rays: SS Wander Franco (right hamate bone) went 0 for 2 as the designated hitter for Triple-A Durham. He was expected to play five innings but was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the fourth.
Yankees: INF DJ LeMahieu (right big toe) missed his third straight game. He is day-to-day but a decision on putting him on the injured list could come Wednesday or Thursday. … OF/DH Giancarlo Stanton (Achilles tendon) could begin a rehab assignment in the next few days. … OF Harrison Bader (right foot plantar fasciitis) said he is hoping to find out soon if his walking boot can come off.
Tampa Bay RHP Corey Kluber (7-7, 4.40 ERA) opposes New York RHP Domingo Germán (1-2, 4.18) on Wednesday night.
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