ST. PETERBURG, Fla. (AP) — Brandon Lowe homered and drove in four runs as the AL wild card-leading Tampa Bay Rays beat the Yankees 7-4 in a contentious matchup on Sunday and kept New York winless in series since June.
Benches and bullpens emptied twice in the eighth inning after one of five hit batters in the game but no punches were thrown, and the Yankees lost their eighth straight series rubber game,
Tampa Bay rallied from a 4-2 deficit in the sixth when Harold Ramírez flared a bases-loaded, two-out single to right off Ian Hamilton (2-2) that went just over a slow-to-react Gleyber Torres at second, and Lowe followed with a two-run single against Wandy Peralta.
New York (62-68) dropped a season-high six games under .500 and is in danger of ending its streak of 30 consecutive winning seasons. The last 16 batters made out for the Yankees, who are 0-8-2 in series since winning two of three games at Oakland in late June.
Several players had to be restrained, including Rays first baseman Yandy Díaz. Arozarena stole second and then third, resuming yelling at Abreu, and players ran onto the field for a second time.
Osleivis Basabe was hit by Carlos Rodón, Isaac Paredes and Jonathan Aranda by Hamilton, while New York's Oswald Peraza was plunked by Zach Littell. Twelve Rays batters were hit by the Yankees this season and two by the Rays.
In the last meeting of the AL East rivals until next season, Rays fans among the announced crowd of 22,624 erupted when Lowe doubled for a 7-3 lead and Arozarena jogged home.
Higashioka and LeMahieu had solo drives over a four-pitch sequence against Littell (3-4) in the third, and Volpe connected on a fourth-inning two-run shot that put the Yankees up 4-2.
Tampa Bay took a 2-0 lead in first. Arozarena singled, stole second, advanced on Higashioka's throwing error into center and came home when Harrison Bader’s throw to third skipped past LeMahieu for another error. Lowe homered on the next pitch, the 10th allowed by Rodón in 37 2/3 innings — two shy of his total in 178 innings for San Francisco last year.
Rodón, making his just his eighth start in an injury-marred season after signinng $162 million, six-year contract in December, retired 11 in a row at one point before departing in the fifth with two on and two outs He was replaced by Hamilton, who hit Isaac Paredes on the side of the helmet before striking out pinch-hitter Josh Lowe.
Paredes stayed in the game.
Littell allowed four runs and four hits in six innings. Jason Adam worked the ninth to get his 12th save.
Yankees star Aaron Judge went 0 for 4 with three strikeouts to finish the series hitless in 12 at-bats that included striking out eight
Yankees: CF Spencer Jones, was promoted to Double-A Somerset and 2023 first-round pick SS George Lombard Jr. was moved up to Single-A Tampa.
REMEMBERING GEORGE ROSE
The Yankees announced the death of Executive Advisor, Pacific Rim Operations George Rose,who passed away Sunday at his home in Yardley, Penn. at age 57. He joined the organization in 1998 interpreting for Japanese right-hander Hideki Irabu.
Yankees: 1B Anthony Rizzo (post-concussion syndrome) will stay with the team to continue working while 3B Josh Donaldson (right calf strain) will go to the minor league complex in Tampa as he nears a rehab assignment.
Rays: AL batting leader Yandy Díaz (left forearm) remains sore and missed his second straight game.
AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB
Mark Didtler, The Associated Press