The last-place New York Yankees lost their fifth consecutive game as Yoshi Tsutsugo hit a tiebreaking double off Gerrit Cole in the seventh inning that lifted the Tampa Bay Rays to a 4-2 victory Sunday and a three-game sweep.
Four pitchers combined on the Rays’ second three-hitter of a series in which New York managed 11 hits in all.
Cole (2-1) was hurt by slipshod defense that made three mistakes in the third inning alone, two by center fielder Aaron Hicks and one by left fielder Clint Frazier.
One of the three runs off Cole was unearned, giving the Yankees a major league-high 10.
Joey Wendle added a ninth-inning home run off Darren O’Day, prompting more boos from the crowd of 10,606, who saved their loudest jeers for the final out.
Tampa Bay has won 16 of its last 21 versus the Yankees, including in last year’s Division Series. New York has lost five straight for the first time since Sept. 4-8, getting outscored 30-14. The Yankees have started 5-10 for the first time since 1997, when they finished second to Baltimore at 99-66.
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Aaron Judge struck out three times and is 4 for his last 28, Hicks has 1 hit in his last 15 at-bats, Gleyber Torres 3 in his last 24 and Giancarlo Stanton, despite a second-inning home run, is 3 for his last 26.
Clint Frazier is 1 for his last 24 and does not have an RBI in 40 plate appearances this season.
The Rays swept a series for the second time in their last three visits to Yankee Stadium after sweeping just two of their previous 51 series of three games or more in the Bronx.
Ryan Yarbrough (2-1) followed opener Andrew Kittredge and permitted one run and two hits in five innings. Diego Castillo got four outs, and Jeffrey Springs pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his first big league save.
Cole struck out 10 in 6 1/3 innings and with 39 strikeouts set a Yankees mark for most in his first four starts, with three more than Masahiro Tanaka in 2014.
Cole retired 13 in a row before Wendle singled with one out in the seventh. Tsutsugo followed by driving a changeup, Cole’s 108th and final pitch, to right-center, where the ball bounced to the wall for an RBI double and a 3-2 lead. Tsutsugo was batting .146 at the time and was benched in the first two games of the series.
New York had been outscored 25-12 since Cole’s previous start and had not led since the second inning Wednesday versus Toronto.
Tampa Bay went ahead 2-1 in the third after Mike Zunino singled leading off. Hicks got a late break on Kevin Kiermaier’s bloop to short center, then bobbled the ball and lost an opportunity for a forceout at second.
Yandy Díaz followed with an RBI single to center, and Hicks allowed the ball to kick off his glove for an error that let Kiermaier take third, sparking another round of boos from the crowd.
Manuel Margot followed by a sacrifice fly that put the Rays ahead 2-1, and Frazier heaved the ball past second as Díaz advanced.
Judge likely saved a run with a tumbling catch on Tsutsugo in right that ended the second with a man on. New York tied it 2-2 in the fifth. Gio Urshela fouled off a pair of two-strike pitches and poked a changeup to the opposite field and into the right-field corner, No. 9 hitter Kyle Higashioka walked and DJ LeMahieu looped an RBI single into right.
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