Joe Maddon says if you score first, your odds of winning a ball game are exponentially higher. Seems the Rays have proven that quite a few times lately. Sunday afternoon, they did it again – but the outcome wasn’t ideal – and the Yankees took the rubber match of the three-game set at Tropicana Field, 4-2.

The first inning saw the Rays jump on Yankees starter Hiroki Kuroda (8-8) early as Ben Zobrist and Matt Joyce hit back-to-back, one-out singles putting runners on the corners for Evan Longoria who would ground to second base driving in Zobrist for the first run of the game. After that, however, Kuroda would lock in and retire the next 17 straight Rays hitters, while watching his offense give him the run support he needed in the fifth.

Rays starter, Jeremy Hellickson (1-2), would be locked in and no-hitting the Yankees into the fifth inning before the wheels came off after a two-out walk to Stephen Drew. The Yankees offense would continue to knock around Hellickson amounting to a three-run inning that saw the Rays righty throw 38 pitches before giving way to his bullpen from the sixth inning on.

Longoria drove in both runs for the Rays with his RBI ground out in the first and an RBI single in the 7th. Matt Joyce would record two of the Rays five hits finishing the day 2-for-3.


– Evan Longoria leads all major league players with 76 RBIs against the Yankees since 2008.

– Rays drop to 8-5 on the year against the Yankees.

– The Rays ended their club-record of 12 straight games allowing 3 runs or fewer…the second-longest such streak in baseball this season.

– With his solo HR in the 8th inning off Peralta, Yankees 1B, Mark Teixiera moved into 80th place on the all-time HR list with 381.

– The victory moves the Yankees back into 2nd place in the AL East, combined with the Blue Jays loss in Chicago against the White Sox.