Alex Rodriguez hit two homers to move within two of tying Willie Mays and had four RBI as the Yankees beat the Rays 5-4 in the series opener Friday in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Rodriguez (3-for-4, .344) hit his first homer of the night in the second off Nathan Karns. The ball went 477 feet, best in the majors so far this season. He followed in the sixth with a two-run homer off Ernesto Frieri to tie it at 4, then hit an RBI single off Kevin Jepsen in the eighth to win it.
A-Rod has 658 career homers as he approaches Mays, who is fourth on the all-time list. He passed Derek Jeter for ninth on the all-time runs scored list (1,925). Next up is Stan Musial (1,949).
Stephen Drew hit his third homer of the season in the fourth, but the Rays knocked out Yankees starter Adam Warren in the bottom of the inning. Allan Dykstra hit a three-run homer and Logan Forsythe followed with a solo shot.
But the Yankees’ bullpen, led by Esmil Rogers (2 1/3 innings, no hits, two strikeouts), Dellin Betances (2-0) and closer Andrew Miller (third save) shut the Rays down the rest of the way.
The Yankees continue their three-game series at Tampa Saturday at 7:10 p.m. (WPIX). Masahiro Tanaka faces Jake Odorizzi.
OF Brett Gardner had an MRI in Tampa, reconfirming a bone bruise on his right wrist as previously diagnosed by an X-ray (taken on Monday).
Gardner hasn’t played since being hit in the hand.
He’s hitting .261 with a .393 OBP over his 29 plate appearances this season.
Three New York relievers combined to allow five runs in the pivotal sixth inning, and the Yankees fell to the Baltimore Orioles 7-5 Wednesday night.
David Carpenter gave up a leadoff homer to Jonathan Schoop and Delmon Young greeted reliever Tom Wilson with a pinch-hit RBI single. Chris Davis followed with a two-run double and Caleb Joseph capped the uprising with a run-scoring single off Chris Martin.
“You’re winning after five and you have got a full bullpen, you feel pretty good about it,” manager Joe Girardi said. “We just couldn’t seem to get through that sixth inning.”
New York’s bullpen came into Wednesday night with a 1.73 ERA.
“We have some great arms in there,” starter Nathan Eovaldi said. “It was just one of those nights.”
Yankees relievers David Carpenter and Justin Wilson gave up five runs in the sixth as the O’s won 7-5 in Baltimore to win the three-game series.
The bullpen couldn’t support Yankees starter Nathan Eovaldi, who went five innings, allowing two runs and eight hits with nine strikeouts.
The O’s Jonathan Schoop led off the sixth with a homer off Carpenter. Chris Davis followed with a two-run double off Wilson. At one point the Orioles scored four runs on 12 pitches.
Alex Rodriguez’s 656th career homer in the fourth highlighted the Yankees’ offense.
Rodriguez also tied Derek Jeter for ninth place on MLB’s all-time runs scored list (1,923) and is 54 hits from 3,000.
The slumping Carlos Beltran, who started the season 5-for-33, hit a two-run double in the second. . .Brian McCann had a sac-fly RBI in the Yanks’ two-run eighth.
O’s closer Zach Britton earned his third save despite giving up a double to Chris Young and walk to Jacoby Ellsbury in the ninth. Britton struck out Stephen Drew and Gregorio Petit and got Chase Headley to ground out and end the game.
Davis also had an RBI single and Manny Machado homered in the fourth for the Orioles. .Baltimore starter Bud Norris went five innings, allowing three runs and five hits.
The Yankees (3-6), who are off Thursday, travel to Tampa Bay to start a three-game series Friday night. Adam Warren faces Nathan Karns.
Yankees minor leaguer RHP Wilking Rodriguez has been suspended 80 games for positive test for a performance enhancing drug.
Rodriguez tested positive for Furosemide.
The Yankees will bring up RHP Branden Pinder.
Pinder will replace RHP Joel De La Cruz, who will be sent back to Double-A Trenton.
New York also outrighted RHP Kyle Davies to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
The New York Yankees made two errors on Tuesday night.
They now have made 10 errors in the team’s first eight games of the 2015 season.
Stephen Drew and Chase Headley have both made two errors, while Carlos Beltran, Didi Gregorius, Brian McCann, J.R. Murphy, Gregorio Petit and Alex Rodriguez have all made on error each.
The 10 errors lead Major League Baseball, while their .970 fielding percentage is the worst in the game.