ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The New York Yankees were frustrated by their play and slugger Luke Voit getting hit yet again.
- Yandy Diaz had his first career two-homer game in the Rays' win
- Yonny Chirinos improved to 5-1 this season
- Aces will take the mound in tomorrow's series finale - Blake Snell for the Rays and Masahiro Tanaka for the Yankees
Willy Adames and Ji-Man Choi had run-scoring infield singles in the sixth after tempers flared during the top of the inning when reliever Yonny Chirinos hit Voit on the left shoulder, and the AL East-leading Tampa Bay Rays beat the New York Yankees 7-2 Saturday night.
Yandy Díaz homered twice and drove in four runs for the Rays, who reopened a 1½-game lead over the Yankees.
Voit was hit by Chirinos (5-1) one batter after DJ LeMahieu’s tying solo homer.
“It’s frustrating,” said Voit, who didn’t speculate whether he was thrown at intentionally. “He can hit me anywhere else. This one is up and in. It’s a situation that can be career ending. He’s a sinkerballer. and that was pretty straight.”
Although there was no on-field incidents after Voit was hit, Yankees starter CC Sabathia went to the top of the Yankees dugout and yelled toward Tampa Bay players.
In his final start last season, Sabathia was ejected at Tropicana Field and given a five-game suspension for hitting Jesús Sucre with a pitch after Rays pitcher Andrew Kittredge threw a pitch behind Austin Romine.
“It’s just the same thing, you hit a home run and then they throw up and in,” Sabathia said. “It’s stupid.”
Voit has been hit five times; only Kansas City’s Alex Gordon with eight has more among AL players.
Jonathan Holder (2-1) was warming up in the Yankees bullpen during the top of the sixth preparing to come in for Sabathia, who gave up two runs, three hits and four walks in five innings.
Avisail García greeted Holder with a single and advanced to third on a stolen base and a throwing error by Gary Sánchez, whose seven errors are the most among big league catchers. LeMahieu, a Gold Glove infielder, could not get his glove down to receive the throw.
“I should have had Gary’s ball,” LeMahieu said.
Guillermo Heredia walked, and García scored on Adames’ single to LaMahieu, who was shifted and gloved the ball on the shortstop side of second base. LaMahieu made a sliding backhand stop on the outfield grass, but the ball popped into the air as he tried to throw. The left-handed-hitting Choi followed with a bouncer to LeMahieu in short right field and beat the second baseman’s one-hop throw. Heredia kept running and scored from second on the hit as the ball bounced away from Voit at first.
Sánchez was hit hard on his catching helmet by Heredia’s backswing in the eighth. Sánchez stayed in the game and underwent postgame tests.
“Feel good right now,” Sánchez said through a translator. “Got to wait and see how I feel tomorrow.”
With the Yankees’ bullpen short after being used extensively the previous two days, manager Aaron Boone brought in Nestor Cortes Jr. in the seventh, the 36th player and 17th pitcher used by New York this season. The 24-year-old left-hander gave up a three-run homer to Díaz in the eighth.
Cortes was optioned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre after the game, an indication right-hander Chad Green could be recalled after three appearances for the International League club to regain his mechanics.
García homered in the second and Díaz added a third-inning shot off Sabathia, who has allowed eight homers over 30 1/3 innings in six starts.
Diaz has nine homers. In parts of two previous seasons he went deep one time.
“I’ve actually surprised myself,” Diaz said through a translator. “I’ve never had those numbers in the past, but I’m swinging hard and I’ve been getting good results.”
Clint Frazier hit an RBI double in the fifth, when Michael Tauchman into an inning-ending double play with runners at the corners.
Tommy Pham made two catches on one play in the fourth inning. The Rays left fielder caught Brett Gardner’s fly ball and then used his bare hand soon after to grab a contact lens that popped out. Pham, who went 0 for 4, was on the field postgame hitting balls at home plate off a tee.
Yankees: CF Aaron Hicks (back strain), expected back Monday, went 3 for 4 with two doubles and a homer for Scranton. ... SS Troy Tulowitzki (strained left calf) is scheduled to resume hitting and defensive drills during the upcoming week. ... DH-OF Giancarlo Stanton (left biceps/shoulder) is doing limited baseball activities.
Rays: RHP Tyler Glasnow (6-1), who left his start Friday night in the sixth inning, is expected to miss four to six week with a right forearm strain. Glasnow will not throw for seven to 10 days.
Yankees RHP: Masahiro Tanaka (2-3) will start Sunday’s series finale against Rays LHP Blake Snell (3-3).