Results tagged ‘ Chris Archer ’

Yankees roll seven, shoot for sweep

Something old, something new.

It is this combination that has sustained the Yankees in their winning streak that reached seven games Saturday with a 5-1 victory over the Rays. Remember about two weeks ago I wrote that the Yankees needed to do more than just win series, taking two of three games here and two of three there. They need to go on a run the way the Royals worked themselves into contention with a nine-game winning streak.

Well, here it is, Yankees fans. This is the Yanks’ longest winning streak since a seven-gamer May 1-9 of last year. They are a season-best 11 games over .500, have won 13 of their past 14 games, 20 of their past 29 and are 24-13 since the non-waiver trading deadline of Aug. 1.

The Yankees got a strong start from Masahiro Tanaka (13-4, 3.04 ERA), who gave up one run and five hits with 10 strikeouts, and a combination of old (Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury) and new (Gary Sanchez and Rob Refsnyder) to remain on the heels of the Orioles and the Tigers in the race for the second Wild Card slot in the playoffs. With Baltimore and Detroit opposing each other Saturday night, the Yanks were guaranteed to be no more than one game behind.

But that is not all. With the Red Sox losing to the Blue Jays, the Yankees are only three games out of first place. Who could have imagined this happening back in that last weekend in July when the Yankees were stuck at .500 (52-52) after getting swept in a three-game series at Tropicana Field.

Sunday the Yankees have a chance to sweep those same Rays, this time in a four-game set. They have swept two others four-game series this year, against the Angels and the Athletics, and have already won their past eight four-game series.

Tanaka gave the Yankees something they have lacked from a starter lately — length. Manager Joe Girardi had used 35 pitchers over the previous six games in the winning streak, an average of nearly six pitchers per game. This is less taxing on the staff at this time of year when rosters have expanded. Girardi used to beef about September games with uneven roster numbers, but you do not hear him complaining now as his team is trying to pull off an epic comeback.

After giving up a home run to Bobby Wilson and hitting a batter in the eighth, Tanaka came out for Adam Warren, who also plunked a batter before getting a huge double-play grounder from Evan Longoria.

Rays starter Chris Archer, who has been tough on the Yankees (5-2 entering play), fell to 8-18 essentially because of the first three hitters in the lineup. Gardner singled leading off the sixth of what was then a scoreless game.

Ellsbury wears out Archer and did so again with his eighth home run of the season. Sanchez followed with another bomb, his 13th. The trio was at it again in the eighth, this time against lefthander Enny Romero. Gardner singled, Ellsbury doubled and Sanchez was able to reach the first pitch of what was supposed to be the start of an intentional walk for a sacrifice fly to the warning track. Didi Gregorius added another sac fly.

Refsnyder was 0-for-3 but made an important defensive play, a lunging catch in right field to keep the game scoreless in the sixth.

The something old-something new formula had worked in Friday night’s marathon with Sanchez hitting his 12th homer and Mark Teixeira crushing his 11th career grand slam.

Tanaka has won each of his past six decisions over a seven-start stretch since Aug. 7. He is 5-0 with a 2.42 ERA with 47 strikeouts in 48 1/3 innings seven starts against the Rays, with the Yankees winning each of those starts.

Sanchez is one of five players in major league history with 13 home runs in his first 35 games (also Wally Joyner, Mike Jacobs, Kevin Maas and Wally Berger). Ellsbury is a career .559 hitter against Archer in 34 at-bats. Gardner has multiple hits in each of his past three games with an at-bat (6-for-12). The Yankees are 11-1 when Gardner and Ellsbury each collect at least two hits in the same game.

Yankees make NY pit stop on trip

A weird thing about this trip for the Yankees is that they get to sleep some nights in their own beds. They ended the Tampa Bay stop Wednesday night with a 3-1 victory and came home for their last off day of the regular season Thursday.

The flight was to New York was because their next stop on the three-series trip is in Queens to play the Mets at Citi Field in the second installment of the Subway Series. With both New York clubs in the hunt for postseason berths, an extra element of anticipation is in the air.

The Yankees remained three games behind the Blue Jays in the American League East with Toronto winning at Atlanta. The Jays come home this weekend and play the Red Sox before the Yanks enter Rogers Centre for a three-game set starting Monday night.

With an eye on the Toronto series, Yankees manager Joe Girardi set his rotation for the Mets series with Masahiro Tanaka getting the ball on regular rest for Friday night’s game. That will allow the righthander to make his following start next Wednesday night at Toronto, also on regular rest. Tanaka has allowed one earned run in 16 innings against the Blue Jays this year.

Tanaka will be opposed Friday night by Mets rookie Steven Matz. Saturday afternoon’s game pits Michael Pineda against the Mets’ Noah Syndegaard. CC Sabathia will start Sunday night’s finale against the Mets’ Matt Harvey, who will be held to a strict pitch limit.

Girardi did not announce the rest of the rotation for the Toronto series, but he did say that Ivan Nova would be in the bullpen for the Mets series, which means that it is likely Adam Warren will start Monday night and Luis Severino Tuesday night against the Blue Jays.

Severino was one of two rookies who were central figures in the Yanks’ victory Wednesday night, their second in a row against Chris Archer, who had won his previous five decisions against them. Severino pitched 5 2/3 innings and gave up one run, six hits and one walk with seven strikeouts in improving his record to 4-3 and bouncing back from his first rough outing in his prior start at Yankee Stadium against Toronto.

The other rookie pivotal in the victory was first baseman Greg Bird, who drove in the Yankees’ first run with a double in the second inning off Archer and an important insurance run in the ninth with a monstrous home run to right field off reliever Andrew Bellatti.

The run that proved to be the deciding one was driven in by Chase Headley, who fought off a tough slider from Archer for a flare single to left field in the sixth that increased the Yankees’ lead to 2-0.

Severino came out of the game in the bottom of the sixth after he was touched for a run on a double by Steven Souza. Justin Wilson got the last out of the inning with a strikeout and the first two outs of the seventh as well.

Dellin Betances then came in and did another high-wire act similar to his Sept. 7 appearance against the Orioles when he walked three batters and struck out three in the same inning. He walked the first three Tampa Bay batters he faced Wednesday night but came back to strike out James Loney, who had three hits, on three pitches.

As he had done in Monday night’s victory, Andrew Miller struck out the side in order for his 34th save.

Big Mac & A-Rod HRs put Archer on the skids

The condition is known as the wheels falling off. Fortunately for the Yankees, the condition struck Chris Archer in the sixth inning Sunday that helped them survive a major scare by the Rays.

Archer, who took a 5-0 career record and 1.78 ERA against the Yankees into the game, appeared destined to improve those statistics over the first five innings, four of which he retired the side in order.

As Yankees catcher Brian McCann noted of Archer, “He didn’t pitch out of the stretch a whole lot early in the game.”

The sixth inning was another story, and it was McCann who was pivotal in the Yankees’ turning the game around. Archer began the sixth working on a one-hit shutout with a three-run lead, thanks to a two-run home run by Kevin Kiermaier in the second inning and a two-out, RBI single by Logan Forsythe in the third against Ivan Nova, who ended up the winning pitcher because of the turn of events in the sixth.

It seemed like another mow-down inning in store for Archer when Stephen Drew flied out to left field leading off. Jacoby Ellsbury, who had the Yankees’ only hit to that point (a two-out single in the third that ended a 0-for-17 stretch), hit a ground single to right, but Archer came right back to strike out Brett Gardner.

Curiously, Archer pitched especially carefully to Carlos Beltran for no reason I could detect and walked him on five pitches. At 2-0, Beltran expected to see a fastball, but Archer threw three straight sliders and lost him. Beltran was 0-for-2 in the game and 2-for-14 (.143) against Archer in his career, so why be so careful when a hitter as dangerous as McCann on deck.

McCann’s career numbers against Archer (2-for-16 going into that at-bat) weren’t much better than Beltran’s, but they were about to become so. Archer fell behind 3-1 to McCann, who got the fastball Beltran expected and drove the ball over the right field fence for a three-run homer that knotted the score.

As if the wheels had not fallen off enough for Archer, Alex Rodriguez also took him deep on the next pitch. Once again, the long ball came to the Yankees’ rescue as they went on to a 6-4 victory to keep pace with the Blue Jays, 10-4 winners over the Orioles and clinging to a 1 1/2-game lead in the American League East.

McCann’s 25th home run marked a career high in one season for the catcher, who seems much more comfortable in his second year in pinstripes.

“I know the league a lot better,” said McCann, who spent nine years in the National League with the Braves before signing with the Yankees as a free agent prior to the 2014 season. “Getting to know the pitchers, the ones and twos on each staff and situational lefthanders. When you’re in the same league year after year you don’t have to make that much of an adjustment.

“That’s our formula,” manager Joe Girardi said of the home runs, and he was right on target.

The Yankees, whose overall record is 76-59 (.563), are 65-34 (.657) when they homer. When they hit two home runs, as they did Sunday, or more, they are 41-11 (.788). Of the 13 runs the Yanks scored in the three games at Yankee Stadium against the Rays, nine were the result of home runs.

The Yankees added two runs against a ragged Tampa Bay bullpen, one on a throwing error by Fosythe and one on a single by Didi Gregorius, who had two more hits and has had at least one RBI in eight of his past 10 games. A-Rod contributed to the eighth-inning rally with a single, his 3,053rd career hit that tied him with Hall of Famer Rod Carew for 24th place on the all-time list.

But what most of the 35,299 people in attendance at the Stadium will remember most about Sunday’s game were the home runs in the inning when the wheels fell off for a modern-day Yankee killer.

Tex & Mac get the fireworks started early

How many times can a team lose a game and still win? Well, for the Yankees Friday night, twice. They looked beaten in the eighth inning until Mark Teixeira tied the score with a three-run home run for their first scores of the night. They also appeared headed for defeat when the Rays scored two runs in the top of the 12th inning, but the Yankees were not ready to call it a night.

They chipped away for a run on a leadoff walk to Brett Gardner and one-out singles by Alex Rodriguez and Teixeira before another three-run homer, this time by Brian McCann, got the Fourth of July Weekend of fireworks off to an early start.

For seven innings, the Yankees seemed to have brought the lethargic offense they experienced on the recent trip to Houston and Anaheim home with them as longtime nemesis Chris Archer put them through the paces. The righthander, who has never lost to the Yankees, kept that record intact with 6 2/3 brilliant innings in which he allowed three hits and three walks with a hit batter, a wild pitch and eight strikeouts.

Center fielder Kevin Kiermaier saved a run with a leaping catch in front of the wall to rob Stephen Drew of an RBI, extra-base hit in the third inning. That was as close to scoring as the Yankees got until the eighth when Chase Headley and Rodriguez singled with one out off Kevin Jepsen and Teixeira smoked a 1-0 fastball from the righthander for his 20th home run.

For the Yankees, Nick Rumbelow came up big out of the bullpen in the top of the eighth after Chris Capuano had given up singles to the first two batters of the inning. Rumbelow retired Joey Butler on an infield fly and then got Evan Longoria on a fly to right and James Loney on a ground ball to third base.

Dellin Betances and Justin Wilson also pitched well in relief before the Rays got to Adam Warren and Chasen Shreve for two runs in the top of the 12th. Things looked dismal at that point, but the Yankees proved to have another comeback in them.

The Rays had scored twice in the first inning off Masahiro Tanaka, who allowed a third run in the fifth. Overall, it was an encouraging night for the Japanese righthander, who was off two bad starts but rebounded with six innings of three-run, six-hit, one-walk, five-strikeout work in six innings. But this was a game that had more to do with the end than the start.

First-inning fade costs Yanks & Eovaldi

The way the first inning was going for the Yankees Tuesday night, no one would have expected them to score only two runs in the game and lose it as well. That is precisely what happened as the Yankees let longtime nemesis Chris Archer off the mat and could not generate more support for Nathan Eovaldi, who was lights-out for six innings.

Eovaldi, who was working on a three-hit shutout, came unglued somewhat in the seventh. A four-pitch walk to Logan Forsythe and a damaging wild pitch set up a game-tying, two-run single by David DeJesus. An inning later, Eovaldi gave up a walk and a single with one out and watched from the bench as both runners scored on a sacrifice fly by Evan Longoria and the second of two wild pitches by reliever Dellin Betances.

It held up for a 3-2 Tampa Bay victory, only the second in eight games against the Yankees this season and the first in five against them at Tropicana Field, which has been damn near empty the past two nights with crowds slightly more than 10,000. And people ask why Joe Maddon checked out of St. Petersburg when he had the chance?

But, really, this game was lost in the first inning when the Yanks took a 2-0 lead. They had Archer on the ropes and let him slide by making the least of five straight at-bats with the bases loaded.

Archer, whose career record against the Yankees is 5-0 with a 2.02 ERA in 49 innings, allowed the first five batters he faced to get on base — Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner on singles (the sixth time this season they both reached base in the first inning) and Alex Rodriguez on a walk.

Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran followed with sharply-struck singles to right, which put the Yankees in station-to-station mode as only one run scored on each hit. Archer took control after that. He struck out Chase Headley, retired Stephen Drew on a fly to medium center field, a distance no longer sufficient to bring home Rodriguez, and set down Garrett Jones with a ground ball to the right side.

Five straight at-bats with the bases loaded and merely two runs to show for it.

The Yankees went after Archer again in the second. Ellsbury and Gardner both singled, but each was thrown out at second trying to steal. Archer retired 15 of the next 16 batters, including the last 10 he faced in a row.

By doing so, Archer kept pace with Eovaldi, who pitched to the minimum number of batters through four innings. He gave up a one-out single to Steven Souza Jr. in the first but picked him off. There would not be another Tampa Bay hit until the fifth when Forsythe and DeJesus each singled. Eovaldi ended the threat with a strikeout of Brandon Guyer on a 98-mph fastball.

Yet it was not Eovaldi’s high-octane stuff that was as effective as his well-placed slider and a darting splitter in this outing, which is an indication that he is learning well under pitching coach Larry Rothschild that there is more to getting outs than trying to break radar-gun readings.

Eovaldi certainly pitched well enough to win, although he hurt himself fatally with that wild pitch. He just did not have the margin for error to make such a mistake. The Yankees’ first-inning fade was responsible for that

Rally-killing out at the plate sinks Yankees

The worst rule change in baseball went against the Yankees in the fifth inning Monday night and cost them the chance to tie the game against the Rays. At issue was blocking the plate, which Tampa Bay catcher Ryan Hanigan clearly appeared to do as Stephen Drew attempted to score on a single by Jacoby Ellsbury.

Yet after a video review, plate umpire Vic Carapazza upheld his original call. The new rule has become so nebulous it is difficult to interpret. The catcher is now supposed to give a runner trying to score a lane, but he also has to try to catch the ball, which in this case was directly on target.

Major League Baseball issued a memorandum Tuesday clarifying plays in which the ball clearly beats the runner to the plate, which in truth was the case against Drew. Under previous rules, Drew would have no recoil but to collide with Hanigan and try to pry the ball loose.

That is not allowed any more, although Yankees manager Joe Girardi believes a runner in that situation has no alternative. “He had no place to go,” Girardi said of Drew. “I’m not sure whether to instruct my runners to knock the catcher over. I know the sprit of the rule, but maybe we should just go back to normal and suspend a player if someone gets hurt.”

I have seen enough of these plays at the plate this year to equate this rule with that in basketball in the 1970s when the dunk was outlawed in college and high school. Really dumb. Take a fan-pleasing aspect of the game and throw it out.

One of the most exciting plays in baseball is the slide home on a close call. At least it used to be before the powers that be decided to turn it into a dance routine. Is this ball or ballet? The inning was still alive, but Derek Jeter hit a bullet to second baseman Ben Zobrist, who flipped to second to double-up Chris Young.

The play at the plate obscured the fact that it was a rare bad send by third base coach Rob Thompson. Another rule of thumb is not to make the first out at the plate. Had Thompson held Drew at third base, the Yankees would have a run in and the bases loaded with none out and the middle of the order coming up.

The Yankees were marching back from a 4-0 deficit against Chris Archer, who is always been tough against them (5-0 career mark). The righthander was perfect for three innings before Ellsbury homered leading off the fourth. Archer began the next inning by hitting Chase Headley with a pitch and then proceeded to give up four straight singles, including a two-run knock by Young, the Mets’ free-agent bust, following Drew’s RBI hit. Two guys who have had miserable years accounted for the Yankees’ three runs that inning.

Young was playing left field because regular Brett Gardner is still bothered by an abdominal strain. Could he have aggravated it last week when he had that temper tantrum at the plate that got him booted from the game? Just asking. Also out with continuing hamstring soreness was Martin Prado, which is why Drew was in the starting lineup at second base.

Hiroki Kuroda, who had won his three previous decisions, was not sharp and failed to get through the fourth inning. James Loney hit a second-deck home run off Kuroda in the second inning and drove in one of the two Tampa Bay runs in the third with a single. Kuroda was replaced after yielding an RBI single to Zobrist in the fourth.

Seven Yankees relievers combined to shut the Rays down on two hits with two walks and four strikeouts for 5 2/3 innings, but the Yankees had only one hit after the fifth and could not prevent a 4-3 loss that further damaged their already perilous situation in the standings.

“It leaves us in a big hole,” Girardi said. “Basically, we have to win every day.”

Pretty tall order.

Yanks barely over .500 at halfway point

There was a point Monday night when it seemed like Joe Girardi was managing as if this was Game 7 of the World Series instead of a game in late June.

The score was 2-2 in the eighth inning. Dellin Betances, the third of six Yankees pitchers in the game, had just walked two batters after two were out. Girardi hopped out of the dugout and made the call to David Robertson. Using his closer in the eighth inning of a tie game was certainly an indication that Girardi wanted to win this game badly.

Robertson and Betances have been the Yankees’ best relievers, but on this night neither got the job done. Robertson gave up a single to Rays catcher Ryan Hanigan that gave Tampa Bay a 3-2 lead.

You cannot fault Girardi. After losing two of three games to American League East rivals in each of their previous three series, the skipper wanted very much to get a victory at the start of this series, the fifth straight against division foes.

Brian Roberts gave the Yankees that opportunity with his fourth home run of the season, a solo shot to right with one out in the ninth off Joel Peralta, whose blown save cost Yankee killer Chris Archer a winning decision.

Archer gave the Yankees his usual hard time, although he did blow a 2-0 lead on solo homers by Matt Joyce and Kevin Kiermaier by giving up two runs in the bottom of the third. Archer asked for trouble by hitting Ichiro Suzuki with a 1-2 pitch to start the inning. He came around to score on a triple to right by Brett Gardner. The Rays conceded a run by playing the infield back against Derek Jeter, who obliged with one of his four ground balls to second base in the game that scored Gardner.

And there it stood until the eighth when the Rays scratched that run off Betances and Robertson. David Phelps had started for the Yankees and gave up the two long balls but otherwise was solid. Roberts’ homer hung a no-decision on Archer, who is 4-0 with a 1.51 ERA against the Yankees in his career, including 2-0 with a 1.23 ERA at Yankee Stadium.

Whatever lift Roberts’ shot gave the Yankees was short-lived. The Rays scored a run with two out in the 12th to send the Yankees to their third straight loss and put their record at 41-40 at the halfway mark of the season.

“It has been up and down,” Girardi said. “We have had our share of issues in the first half, but we’re still in the thick of it.”

Rookie Jose Ramirez walked Brandon Guyer with two out in the 12th. Guyer’s steal of second base was crucial, putting him in position to score on a single to center by Logan Forsythe. Rays reliever Brad Boxberger retired the Yankees in order in both the 11th and the 12th and was the winning pitcher.

Tampa Bay has been hit hardest in the division by injuries but still presented a problem for the Yankees Monday night.

Yankees bashed again; Nova hurt

A couple of regular Yankee killers had plenty of help from their teammates in killing the Yankees Saturday night. Evan Longoria and Chris Archer had their usual success against the Yankees, but so did a whole bunch of other Tampa Bay Rays.

Clearly, the Rays have awaken from their early-season offensive malaise the past two nights against the Yankees. Tampa Bay followed Friday night’s 11-5 bashing with a 16-1 slaughterhouse Saturday night. By the seventh inning, the many changes in both team’s lineups made the game resemble a spring training exhibition.

The Yankees’ bullpen has been so depleted through these two games that manager Joe Girardi used utility infielder Dean Anna on the mound in the eighth inning. Anna, who started the game at shortstop for resting Derek Jeter, gave up two runs and three hits in his first major-league pitching assignment.

Even worse news for the Yanks was that losing pitcher Ivan Nova was removed from the game in the fifth inning because of right elbow soreness. That could explain why he was so ineffective. The righthander was lit up for eight earned runs and eight hits, including four home runs, in four-plus innings as his ERA soared to 8.27.

The Rays had five home runs in all — two apiece by Wil Myers and Ryan Hanigan and one by Longoria. Hanigan drove in six runs and Myers and Longoria four each as part of the 16-hit attack.

Longoria’s home run was career No. 164 to set a Tampa Bay franchise record, passing the previous record holder, Carlos Pena. It was also Longoria’s 26th career homer against the Yankees, the most of any player since 2008, the third baseman’s American League Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year Award season. The next closest over that stretch is the Blue Jays’ Jose Bautista with 19.

Over about the same amount of plate appearances against the Yankees as Longoria, Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz has 15 home runs, which indicates how powerful Longoria has been. Longoria is a .314 career hitter with 19 doubles and 71 RBI in 338 at-bats against the Yankees.

Archer continued his winning ways against the Yankees. The righthander gave up one run and three hits with no walks and four strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings to improve his career mark against them to 4-0 with a 1.26 ERA in 28 2/3 innings. Last year, Archer became the first rookie pitcher to beat the Yankees three times in a season since Kevin Brown did it for the Rangers in 1989. Brown later pitched for the Yankees.

It was a quiet night for the Yankees’ offense. They managed only three hits with a two-out double by Kelly Johnson in the fifth inning driving in their only run. Rays pitching retired the Yankees’ last 13 hitters in a row.

Jeter to rejoin Yankees in Toronto Monday

More reinforcements are coming for the Yankees. Barring injury, Derek Jeter will return to the Yankees Monday night when they open a three-game series at Toronto’s Rogers Centre. The Captain is on an injury-rehabilitation assignment at Triple-A Scranton and was to play seven innings at shortstop Saturday night. He is expected to go through a light workout Sunday and then fly to Toronto to rejoin the Yankees.

Jeter was 0-for-3 with a walk Friday night and showed that his legs are back in shape by scoring on a wild pitch. He was out the entire first half while recovering from two bone fractures in his left ankle and was disabled again after coming back due to a right quadriceps strain.

The Yankees had more good news regarding Brett Gardner, who was hit in the right hand by a pitch from the Rays’ Chris Archer in Friday night’s 7-2 loss. X-rays were negative. Gardner was not in the lineup Saturday night, but it had nothing to do with his hand and everything to do with David Price being the opposing pitcher.

Manager Joe Girardi said that whenever a lefthander opposes the Yankees at least one of the three left-handed hitting outfielders has to be on the bench. Girardi chose to go with Curtis Granderson, who has four career home runs against Price, and Ichiro Suzuki, who entered the game with a 1-for-3 history against Price. Gardner, who is 2-for-14 (.143) in his career against Price, was essentially bitten by the computer.

Girardi was also forced to use Mark Reynolds at first base against Price because Lyle Overbay was still down with the flu. Reynolds had only four hits in 24 at-bats (.167) in his career against Price, but three of the hits were home runs. Overbay is 4-for-12 (.333) off Price.

Kuroda overpowered by Rays

Hiroki Kuroda has picked up the Yankees all season. Now his teammates can pay him back by picking up the rest of this series for him. Kuroda simply was not himself Friday night in a 7-2 loss to the Rays that stifled the momentum the Yankees were thriving on after sweeping a four-game series from Toronto that alerted other contenders that they intend to be in the thick of the race for a postseason berth.

The Yankees came from behind in all four games against the Blue Jays, but there would be no heroics at Tropicana Field as the Rays kept hitting balls over the fences to push the Yankees further behind over the first five innings.

Kuroda gave the Yankees innings – six – and little else. The seven runs and the four home runs were the most allowed in a game this year by Kuroda, who has yielded 20 hits in his past 11 2/3 innings. The Yanks gave Kuroda a 1-0 lead in the first inning on a two-out, RBI single by Alfonso Soriano crossing up Rays manager Joe Maddon’s over-shift, but in the second the righthander was jolted by a three-run home run by Rays catcher Jose Lobaton that ended Kuroda’s homerless streak of 58 1/3 innings.

Tampa Bay kept it up with solo shots by Evan Longoria and Matt Joyce back-to-back in the third inning and Ben Zobrist leading off the fifth. Along the way, Lobaton picked up a fourth RBI on a single in the fourth. Kuroda entered the game leading the American League in earned run average but dropped into fifth place and surrendered the lead to the Tigers’ Anibal Sanchez.

The offensive surge was more than enough support for Chris Archer, another impressive young pitcher in the Rays’ corral who has been murder on the Yankees this year. The righthander held the Yankees to two runs, four hits and two walks with four strikeouts in seven innings to run his record against them this season to 3-0 with a 1.23 ERA. Archer, who pitched a two-hit shutout against the Yankees in his previous start against them July 27 at Yankee Stadium, became the first rookie pitcher to win three games against them in one season since 1989 by Kevin Brown, then with the Rangers.

The Yankees’ big bats were awfully quiet. Curtis Granderson, Robinson Cano, Soriano and Alex Rodriguez combined for that one hit by Soriano in 16 at-bats with three strikeouts. Leadoff man Brett Gardner had a hand – rather, legs – in scoring both the Yankees’ runs.

He led off the game with a walk, stole second, crossed to third on a deep flyout by Granderson and scored on the hit by Soriano. Gardner tripled leading off the fifth and scored on an infield out by Cano. Gardner suffered an embarrassing moment in the eighth, which he led off with an infield single, by getting picked off first base by reliever Jamey Wright.

So the five-game winning streak is over, but the Yankees still have a chance to win the series, which they have done in each of their past four series. Saturday night’s second game of the set pairs former AL Cy Young Award winners CC Sabathia and David Price. It will mark the ninth matchup between the two lefthanders. Price has had the upper hand in the rivalry with a 4-2 record and 2.52 ERA with the Rays winning six of the eight games.