"The guys play hard," said Rays manager Kevin Cash after his team finished April with a 12-10 record. "They play hard for nine, they play hard for 13, 14 -- whatever is asked of them. They've done that for a month, and it's been impressive to watch."
Loney's hit was a ground-ball single to right field off left-hander Chasen Shreve, who was the sixth Bombers reliever of the afternoon. Second baseman Stephen Drew chased the ball down but threw home too late to nab Souza Jr., and Tampa Bay held on to defeat the Yankees for the first time in six tries this season.
"It was just one of those plays," Drew said. "I didn't think I really had a shot, to be honest, to even get to the ball. When I got up to go throw, there was no shot to get him and really no momentum -- especially when you're going to your left there. It's just tough, but we'll go to the next game."
Chase Headley and Chris Young homered to account for the output against Rays left-hander Drew Smyly, who struck out 10 over six strong innings. Rays hurlers struck out 16 Yankees in all, a season high for both clubs. Brandon Gomes picked up the victory with two innings of scoreless relief and Ernesto Frieri worked the 13th for his second save.
Kevin Kiermaier legged out a two-run triple in the fourth inning to mark Tampa Bay's biggest blow off of right-hander Michael Pineda, who permitted six hits and two runs over 5 2/3 innings.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Kiermaier's three-bagger: Facing Pineda with two outs in the fourth, Kiermaier sent a deep drive to center field that hit the wall on one bounce. With Jacoby Ellsbury and Beltran in pursuit, Kiermaier made it to third base standing up on the two-run triple, which snapped an 0-for-11 streak by the Rays with runners in scoring position and marked the first scoring of the afternoon.
"I thought he threw the ball pretty well," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said of Pineda. "They made him work after the first inning pretty hard and his pitch count got up, but he gave up the two runs and he gave us a great opportunity to win."
A-Rod's afternoon:Alex Rodriguez completed the homestand still stuck on 659 homers, enduring the first 0-for-6 game of his career, with four strikeouts. Rodriguez admitted to pressing a bit and not putting together quality at-bats, though he still got one last chance in the 13th inning. Frieri got Rodriguez to ground into a game-ending 6-4-3 double play.
"I definitely chased today," Rodriguez said. "I will often talk about -- going back to Spring Training -- one of the keys for our offense, and me specifically, is swing at strikes and take your 'A' swing. Today, I didn't do that." More >
Power of the 'pen: The Yankees again scored strong work out of the bullpen, as Justin Wilson, David Carpenter, Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller combined to retire 14 straight batters. Since April 22, the Yankees' bullpen has allowed just three earned runs in 30 2/3 innings (0.88 ERA), with 38 strikeouts.
"I feel good. I can speak for myself; I think the guys feel well," Betances said. "They've been pitching tremendous. Just trying to help the team win any way we can." More >
"[The win] was nice. The guys in there needed it. It gets frustrating when you play good baseball and you don't have the reward. And I think we have played good baseball against the Yankees. We just didn't have much to show for it up until today." -- Cash, on the Rays finally beating the Yankees for the first time in six tries this season.
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Hoping to bridge the gap to relievers Kevin Jepsen and Brad Boxberger, Cash inserted Steve Geltz into the game to pitch the seventh. Geltz faced five batters and struck out all five, making him the second Rays pitcher to face five or more batters in a game and strike them all out. Joaquin Benoit faced five and fanned them all on May 17, 2010, vs. Cleveland.
WHAT'S NEXT Rays: Tampa Bay will travel home -- rather than to Baltimore -- to meet the Orioles in a three-game series beginning Friday that was relocated to Tropicana Field due to civil unrest. In an odd circumstance, the Rays will be the visiting team in their home park. Alex Colome will make his first start of the season after being slowed during Spring Training by visa problems and a case of pneumonia.
Yankees: Following an off-day on Thursday, the Yankees will begin their second road trip of the season on Friday as they travel to Fenway Park in Boston to open a three-game series against the Red Sox. CC Sabathia (0-4, 5.96 ERA) is expected to draw the start for New York, seeking his first victory in more than a calendar year.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch, on Facebook and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.