NEW YORK -- Evan Longoria had joked that there is no such thing as a "neutral site" when playing against the Yankees, whose followers always seem to travel quite well. Todd Frazier's three-run homer highlighted a five-run fourth inning as the Bombers made the interborough trip a memorable one, powering a 5-1 victory over the Rays on Monday evening at Citi Field.
In the first of three games relocated to Queens by Hurricane Irma, right-hander Jake Odorizzi held New York hitless through the first three innings before requiring 51 pitches to record two outs in the fourth, a barrage highlighted by Frazier's 24th homer of the season and his eighth since being traded to the Yankees.
"It just seems like when you come to the ballpark right now, something good is going to happen," Frazier said. "It could be any guy, and it has been. The pitching has been there, the hitting has been there, and we're clicking right now at the right time."
With their eighth victory in 11 games, the Yankees moved within three games of the idle Red Sox in the American League East race. Tampa Bay fell four games behind the Twins for the second AL Wild Card; the Yankees hold the first AL Wild Card spot.
In just the second game ever played at Citi Field using a designated hitter -- the 2013 All-Star Game was the first -- CC Sabathia navigated just 4 1/3 innings of one-run, six-hit ball before yielding to the bullpen. David Robertson hurled a career-high 2 2/3 innings to pick up the victory in relief.
"I feel good. I just tried to throw a lot of strikes," Robertson said. "The defense was playing great behind me, the guys were making unbelievable plays. As long as I kept getting soft contact, I was happy."
Tampa Bay's Adeiny Hechavarria had three hits, finishing a homer shy of the cycle. The Yankees have won nine of 14 contests against the Rays this season.
"We lost the game in one inning," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "The fourth inning was the game, basically. Both offenses from that point were fairly shut down afterwards."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Gotta get three: Odorizzi thought he might have been out of the fourth inning when Matt Holliday smashed a two-out grounder to third base, but the ball skipped past Trevor Plouffe for a two-base error, and Gary Sanchez chugged all the way home from first base. Jacoby Ellsbury reached on a catcher's interference error that prolonged the inning, and Odorizzi was never able to record that final out.
"Once, what can you do? Twice, you don't know what to do," Odorizzi said. "I knew from that point on. They scored two runs, it was a 2-1 game, and two guys were on that shouldn't be. I was trying to limit the damage the best I could."
Early hook: Sabathia escaped trouble in the third inning after a pair of infield hits, but Yankees manager Joe Girardi did not permit the left-hander any extra leeway in the fifth. Sabathia was yanked after 88 pitches with a four-run lead in favor of Robertson, who struck out Longoria looking and Lucas Duda swinging to strand two runners.
"[Sabathia] was not sharp tonight. He had to battle all night," Girardi said. "He threw a lot of pitches, and Longoria has probably been the guy who has hurt him as much as anyone in the game. I knew I had Robbie for multiple innings; didn't know I was going to go 2 2/3, but he kept his pitch count down, which allowed me to do that. I kind of felt like that was the game right there, so I went to him." More >
"I don't care when I pitch. I'll do whatever it takes to get us back to the playoffs and give us a chance to get another ring." -- Robertson
"You can't give a good team extra outs like that. Nothing I can do about it now but move forward. It's unfortunate. I feel terrible about it; it's definitely a play that needs to be made." -- Plouffe
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Ellsbury's catcher's interference in the fourth inning was the 30th of his Major League career, passing Pete Rose (29) for the most all-time. It came on Ellsbury's 34th birthday, and also happened on the anniversary of Rose becoming the all-time hits king; Rose surpassed Ty Cobb with career hit No. 4,192 on Sept. 11, 1985.
"I told Ellsbury, we're going to take a picture and send it to Pete and say, 'Hey, this record is his. [You] can't have this one,'" Frazier said.
WHAT'S NEXT Yankees: Right-hander Sonny Gray (9-9, 3.22 ERA) will look for his fourth win in eight starts since joining the Yankees on Tuesday, taking on the Rays at 7:05 p.m. ET. Gray defeated the Orioles his last time out, allowing an unearned run on six hits in 5 2/3 innings.
Rays: Left-hander Blake Snell (3-6, 4.36 ERA) takes the ball for Tuesday's middle game of three at Citi Field. Snell is coming off an outing against the Twins in which he tied a career high by allowing six earned runs. He is 2-1 with a 2.89 ERA in six career starts vs. the Yankees, including his Major League debut, on April 23, 2016.