By Bradley Walker, 1010 Sports

NEW YORK (CBS) If the Rays thought New York would take it easy on them during this three-game series, they need to think again. Tampa Bay has dropped two straight games at Yankee Stadium and fell 2 1/2 games back behind Boston in the AL Wild Card race.

After last night’s shutout loss, the Rays dropped a 4-2 heart breaker this afternoon, allowing the Yankees to control their playoff fate during a crucial late season showdown with Boston.

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New York could diminish the Rays’ playoff hopes if they complete the sweep and win the second game of a day/night double header which kicks off tonight at 7 PM ET.

James Shields started this afternoon and went 7 1/3 innings allowing four earned runs on six hits. He gave his team a chance to score some runs and pounce early on New York, but the Rays’ bats remained dormant.

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Desmond Jennings drove in the only two runs for Tampa Bay with his two-run homer in the third, but it wouldn’t be enough to quiet the heavy-hitting Yankee lineup.

The Rays held a 2-1 lead in the eighth, but a quick homer from Eduardo Nunez tied the game at two apiece. J.P Howell came on for Shields in the eighth and quickly gave up a two-run double to Robinson Cano to put the Yankees up 4-2.

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It all happened so suddenly, and now the Rays see themselves 2 1/2 back with seven games remaining on their schedule. At this point it is out of their hands, and you can hear Boston shouting, “Catch me if you Can.”