Rays grab early lead, stifle Yanks for victory

Rays grab early lead, stifle Yanks for victory

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rays are hard to beat when they get pitching and the long ball. And that's exactly the recipe they used Friday night to defeat the Yankees, 5-1, at Tropicana Field.

Logan Forsythe and Corey Dickerson staked starter Jake Odorizzi to a 2-0 lead in the first with solo homers off Yankees starter Ivan Nova. Tampa Bay continued to add runs after the opening frame, and Odorizzi and the bullpen did the rest.

"I just think it was a command issue," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "[Nova] wasn't commanding his fastball or his curveball. And that, to me, was the difference. It's what we always talk about. He has to be able to throw it early in the count, late in the count. Expand with it when he's behind in the count. And he just wasn't able to do it."

Odorizzi has been the master of the no-decision this season. Entering Friday night's game, he was coming off an eight-inning appearance against the A's in which he allowed no runs, but came away with a no-decision. On Friday, however, Odorizzi picked up the win, improving to 5-5 on the season while extending his scoreless streak to 14 2/3 innings.

"Good win," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "Nice to start the homestand off like that. Odo was outstanding."

Mark Teixeira's RBI single off Dylan Floro in the eighth accounted for the Yankees' only run. Nova allowed five runs on six hits in 4 1/3 innings to take the loss. Alex Colome recorded the final two outs of the game to earn his 23rd save.

It was the second straight game that a Yankees starter had gone five innings or fewer, following a stretch of 11 straight games of more than five innings. Still, an offense that put together 10 hits couldn't muster more than one run.

"We had a couple hits, but we just couldn't put them together when we needed to," Teixeira said. "It was that kind of night."

One and only chance: The Yankees' offense sputtered on Friday night, but it got a chance to make up for that in the eighth inning. After back-to-back two-out hits, New York had runners at first and second and a run already in. With the count 3-1 to Didi Gregorius, the Yankees were one ball away from bringing the tying run to the plate. But he flied out to center.

Teixeira's RBI single

Finding fences in first: Forsythe led off the Rays' first with a home run to left, giving him his 10th home run of the season and his first career leadoff homer. The Rays have started games with home runs three times this season. Prior to Forsythe, Steven Souza Jr. did it on May 20 at Detroit. Dickerson added to the first-inning power display with his 15th homer of the season.

Forsythe's solo homer

Out of control: Nova lacked precision in his outing against the Rays. Through 51 pitches, he'd thrown more balls (26) than strikes (25). Chad Green replaced him and threw 10 of his first 15 pitches for balls. The Yankees walked six batters overall on the evening. More >

"It was bad. It was bad," Nova said. "I got hit in the middle of the plate and threw behind to almost every hitter. It was no good."

Nova shows his frustration

Another quality start: Odorizzi extended the streak by the Rays' rotation to nine consecutive outings in which the starter has delivered a quality start. Odorizzi allowed no runs in 6 2/3 innings while striking out five. Since the All-Star break, Rays starters have posted 11 quality starts. More >

Odorizzi's scoreless outing

"I think if we keep most of this core together and we come through the season healthy, we can do a lot of special things. Whether or not that's going to happen is not up to us." -- Souza, on the prospect of the team staying together for next season

"Some of them looked pretty good. So I think it's frustration. I also think he didn't like the strike zone." -- Girardi, on Nova jawing with home-plate umpire Laz Diaz after being taken out of the game

Rays outfielder Brandon Guyer got hit by a pitch in the second inning, which was the 23rd time he's taken one for the team this season and the 47th time since the beginning of 2015. Not surprisingly, Guyer leads the Major Leagues in the category.

Forsythe became the seventh Rays player to reach double-digit home runs this season. Only two teams in the Major Leagues have more, Seattle (8) and St. Louis (8).

Yankees: Nathan Eovaldi (9-6, 4.80 ERA) will take the mound for the Yankees against the Rays in Saturday's game, which starts at 6:10 p.m. ET. He's shown improvement since being placed back in the rotation, following a stretch where he allowed 31 runs over six starts. In his last outing, he gave up just two runs in 6 2/3 innings.

Rays: Drew Smyly (2-11, 5.42 ERA) will make his 20th start of the season Saturday. He's coming off a quality start against the Athletics, looking more like the early season Smyly. He is 0-7 in his last 11 starts, which is the longest losing streak by a Rays starter since Chris Archer went 0-7 from Sept. 6, 2015 to April 20.

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Sam Blum is a reporter for MLB.com based in St. Petersburg and covered the Yankees on Friday.

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.