NEW YORK (AP) – Brandon Lowe hit a two-run double in the first inning off opener Nick Nelson, and the AL champion Tampa Bay Rays kept up their domination of the New York Yankees with an 8-2 win Friday night that set off frustrated fans who caused a brief interruption.
Tampa Bay arrived in New York with eight defeats in 11 games and had not held the lead in 25 innings. The young, athletic Rays spurted to an 8-0, seventh-inning lead and beat the Yankees for the 16th time in their last 21 meetings, including during last year’s Division Series.
New York dropped to 5-8 and managed a triple crown of failed pitching, hitting, and fielding. The Yankees walked seven Rays, had just three hits, struck out 14 times, and made three errors that led to three unearned runs.
The game was stopped for about 2 minutes, 15 seconds with Clint Frazier batting in the bottom of the eighth when back a half-dozen balls were thrown on the field from the pandemic-limited crowd of 10,202 on a fantastic, breezy night with a 45-degree temperature at game time. Michael Wacha (1-1) lowered his ERA from 7.00 to 4.20, allowing one hit in six scoreless innings with nine strikeouts and two walks.
Frazier was 0 for 3 with three strikeouts and has no RBIs in 63 plate appearances this year. Aaron Hicks was 0 for 3, dropping to 2 for 26 (.077) left-handed this season. And AL batting champion DJ LeMahieu was 0 for 4, ending his 23-game regular-season hitting streak against the Rays.
Third baseman Gio Urshela allowed Willy Adames’ grounder to bounce off his glove for a run-scoring error in the four-run fifth, and second baseman Rougned Odor threw past first on what should have been an inning-ending double-play grounder by Randy Arozarena, allowing two more runs.
Nelson (0-2) was no more effective than the previous time manager Aaron Boone used an opener when Deivi García started Game 2 last year against the Rays and was followed by J.A. Happ in a 7-5 loss.
Gerrit Cole, who starts Sunday’s series finale, is 2-0 with a 1.47 ERA, allowing three runs in 18 1/3 innings over three appearances. The rest of New York’s starters are 1-5 with a 6.45 ERA, giving up 27 runs in 37 2/3 innings.
Tampa Bay had runners in each of the first six innings. Mike Zunino added a two-run double, four soft hits in the sixth off Lucas Luetge, who fired his glove at the bench when he reached the dugout.
Giancarlo Stanton hit a two-run homer in the seventh off Trevor Richards.
Michael King hit Lowe on a forearm with a 90.6 mph cutter leading off the third, the sixth batter, including five Rays, hit in four games between the teams this year.
Nelson hit Zunino in last weekend’s series opener, Justin Wilson hit Joey Wendle on Saturday, and Jordan Montgomery hit Austin Meadows twice on Sunday when Cody Reed hit Hicks.
Last September 1, Masahiro Tanaka hit Wendle, and Aroldis Chapman threw a 101 mph pitch near the head of Mike Brosseau, earning a suspension for the first two games of this season.
New York has had three or more errors five times in its last 28 regular-season games dating to last season.
Because the teams were off Thursday, all players wore No. 42 to honor the 74th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the significant league color barrier. Aaron Judge wore spikes colored Dodger blue with No. 42 on the sides.
Rays: OF Kevin Kiermaier, out since April 5 with a strained left quadriceps, will be evaluated after he works out pregame Saturday, Rays manager Kevin Cash said. … C Kevan Smith’s back is better, and he could be activated from the taxi squad if needed.
LHP Jordan Montgomery (1-0) starts Saturday for the Yankees against RHP Tyler Glasnow (1-0), who struck out a career-high 14 at Texas on Monday, allowing two hits in 7 2/3 scoreless innings. Glasnow recalled his pre-pandemic time in the Big Apple. “Usually, every time I’d come to New York before COVID, I would always go to Washington Square and play chess,” he said Friday. “I would just go to the park and get beat by all the chess players. But it’s still fun. The ones that look the worst are always the best.”
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