ST. PETERSBURG -- The Yankees' formula for success this season has been to hand the ball off to their elite bullpen, but Dellin Betances experienced a rare eighth-inning stumble on Tuesday.
In relief of starter Nathan Eovaldi, Betances allowed two inherited runners to score as he served up a go-ahead sacrifice fly to Evan Longoria and uncorked a pair of wild pitches in the Yanks' 4-2 loss to the Rays at Tropicana Field.
"I'm trying my best to not let those runs score in a tie ballgame," Betances said. "Eovaldi pitched a great game, so I'm trying my best not to give them the lead right there."
Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that he summoned Betances hoping for a strikeout of Longoria, but the third baseman made good contact, lifting a fly ball to center field that drove home Kevin Kiermaier with the go-ahead run.
Following a stolen base and an intentional walk, Betances threw two wild pitches, the last of which smacked catcher Brian McCann in the shoulder and rolled toward the Rays' dugout as Steven Souza Jr. raced home.
"I've got to do better. It was bad catching," McCann said. "I've got to block those balls and I didn't do it."
Girardi noted that Betances was not fully rested and that he had been trying to avoid using him; Betances pitched for the third time in four games on Sunday against the Orioles, with the final two of those appearances spanning four and five outs, respectively. Betances said he felt fine.
"I'm always 100 percent, man," Betances said. "I get paid to pitch and I'm going to be ready whenever my name is called upon. Unfortunately, Longoria put a good at-bat on me and the guy scored. We didn't get the chance, but I'll be ready for tomorrow."
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.