September 4, 2012; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi (28) comes out of the dugout to talk with umpire Tony Randazzo (11) after the top of the fourth inning ended against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE
The New York Yankees no longer have sole possession of first place after losing 5-2 to the Rays Tuesday night.
The loss, combined with the Orioles' blowout win in Toronto, pulled Baltimore even in the loss column and put the Rays just 1.5 games out. It was another frustrating night for the Yankees, who saw manager Joe Girardi ejected in the fourth inning. It's the second straight series they have dropped to the pursuing O's and Rays.
The Yankees offense got to Tampa starter Alex Cobb early, jumping in front 2-0 in the top of the first. But it would be all downhill from there, as Cobb and the Rays' bullpen cruised over the final eight innings to keep the Yankee lineup in check. Robinson Cano's two-run shot in the opening frame would be the only damage done by the Bronx Bombers. Cano was hitting DH on Tuesday after tweaking his hip on the Rays' game-winning hit in the eighth on Monday. It was his 29th jack of the season, matching a career high.
The young Cobb kept his club in it after the mistake to Cano in the first, cruising through seven innings and giving up just four hits. He's come on during the month of August after a rocky start to the season in the bigs. Tuesday night was biggest game of the year and he delivered. His work set things up perfectly for Joe Maddon, who handed it over to Joel Peralta and Fernando Rodney to clean up the eighth and ninth.
The Rays chased Freddy Garcia in the sixth, taking the Yankee starter deep on three separate occasions to post five runs. Tampa is not necessarily known for its power, but their sluggers came through on Tuesday. In bottom of the third, Evan Longoria took a 2-2 off-speed pitch from Garcia 10 rows into the left-field seats, giving the Rays their first lead of the game at 3-2.
Tampa would add to the lead with back-to-back homers in the bottom of the fifth. Desmond Jennings started things off by turning on a low and inside fastball, carrying it into the first row of seats down the line. B.J. Upton then stepped into the box and knocked the Rays' third homer of the night. This one was a no-doubter off the bat, hammered to center field for the 5-2 lead.