With two outs in the fifth inning, the Yankees had still not picked up a hit and it was beginning to look like one of those days. Other than a error and a walk, no Yankee had reached base, and none looked particularly likely. But then with two outs in the fifth, the Yankees got a rally going. By the time the inning was over, the Yankees were in front and would never trail again. Thanks to that rally and a pretty nice outing from Hiroki Kuroda, the Yankees came away with a 4-2 win over the Rays.
The Rays got on the board early with a run in the first inning. With one out in the inning, Ben Zobrist singled and moved to third when Matt Joyce singled. Kuroda then got Evan Longoria to ground out, but it was enough to score Zobrist. James Loney would fly out to end the inning, but it was now 1-0 Rays.
Through 4.2 innings, the Yankees had yet to record a hit. Derek Jeter had reached via error and Carlos Beltran walked, but Jeremy Hellickson looked like he was about to get though five hit-less innings. But then, through some sort of black magic, I assume, the Yankees got a two-out rally going. Stephen Drew kept the inning alive with a walk. Martin Prado came up next and he laced a double to left. With two runners in scoring position, Brett Gardner singled to score them both and give the Yankees the lead out of nowhere. Jeter then kept it moving with a single that moved Gardner to third. That brought up a slumping Jacoby Ellsbury. He kept it moving with another single. That scored Gardner and made it 3-1.
After allowing the run in the first inning, Kuroda cruised after that. After the run scored, Kuroda retired the next 16 batters he faced. But in the bottom of the seventh, the Rays got a rally going. Joyce led off the inning with a double. Longoria followed that with a single that scored Joyce and cut the Yankees' lead to one run. Kuroda then got two-straight ground outs, which moved Longoria all the way over to third. That left the inning up to Vince Belnome. Kuroda and Belnome battled, but Belnome eventually drew a walk. That caused Girardi to go to his bullpen and bring in Shawn Kelley. Kuroda went 6.2 innings allowing two runs on four hits and one walk. Kelley came in and struck out pinch hitter Brandon Guyer to strand the tying run at third.
The Yankees got that run back in the top of the eighth when Mark Teixeira hit a solo home run. That gave the Yankees the extra run to work with and made it 4-2.
Dellin Betances was brought in to pitch the eighth. He allowed a infield single to Desmond Jennings, but in typical Dellin style, he struck out two in a scoreless inning.
The Yankees couldn't pick up an insurance run in the top of the ninth, meaning it was time for David Robertson in the bottom half of the inning. Longoria and Loney both hit balls fairly deep, but both were caught. In the end it was a 1-2-3 inning for Robertson. That sealed a 4-2 win and a series win against the Rays.
The Yankees have the day off tomorrow before returning home for a series against the Astros starting Tuesday.