NEW YORK (AP) — It was an excellent day for Tampa Bay’s rotation — in more ways than one.
Tyler Glasnow pitched seven splendid innings and the Rays hit four early homers off spot starter Jhony Brito to beat the New York Yankees 5-1 on Monday night in the opener of a three-game series between division rivals.
“Good win. Big win. Something to build off,” Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash said. “Clean baseball for the most part. Glasnow was really good.”
Brandon Lowe launched a two-run drive in the first and Wander Franco added a solo shot in the third before Isaac Paredes and Josh Lowe went back-to-back in the fourth.
Hours earlier, the Rays gave their starting rotation a significant boost by acquiring right-hander Aaron Civale from Cleveland in a trade for highly regarded minor league prospect Kyle Manzardo.
“He’s a really good pitcher,” Glasnow said. “It’s awesome. I think we definitely needed another starter and we got one. So it’s great.”
Tampa Bay, which leads the American League wild-card standings, remained 1 1/2 games behind first-place Baltimore in the AL East.
“It’s a 162-game season and guys get tired. With a group like this we all kind of got tired at the same time, but it’s time to pick it up again,” Josh Lowe said. “I think we all realize that we’re getting down to the wire here a little bit and it’s time to put it into gear and get playing some good baseball.”
Brito (4-5) was called up from the minors earlier in the day to start in place of Domingo German, who was scratched because of discomfort in his armpit that prevented him from playing catch Sunday.
German entered in the fifth, however, and worked five scoreless innings of two-hit ball.
The right-hander was cleared by head team physician Dr. Christopher Ahmad after an examination late in the afternoon. German went out and played catch, said he felt really good and told the Yankees he could pitch in relief, if needed.
The 6-foot-8 Glasnow (5-3) allowed three hits and struck out eight, improving to 3-0 in his past four starts.
“I felt sharp from the start and just kind of felt good throughout,” he said. “My slider was good and I was able to pitch off of that.”
Glasnow has gone seven innings in each of his last three outings, equaling the longest such streak of his career.
“I think the last few starts I’ve definitely been able to set things up better and pitch and not just try and throw super hard,” he said. “The timing feels a lot better and I just feel a lot more rhythmic and I think just accumulating a few more starts has gotten me back in the right direction.”
With runners at the corners in the sixth, Glasnow got Giancarlo Stanton to ground into an inning-ending double play.
Robert Stephenson and Pete Fairbanks finished the three-hitter.
“Little by little I think we’re back to getting that confidence that we (had) in the beginning of the year,” Paredes said through a translator.
Jake Bauers went deep in the second, homering for the second consecutive night for the last-place Yankees (55-51), who fell to 1-3 since Aaron Judge came off the injured list. The star slugger walked three times and struck out.
“We’ve got to make adjustments,” Judge said. “We put ourselves in a hole, but we’ve still got a lot of ballgames left.”
The Yankees have struck out 30 times in the past two games. New York began the day 3 1/2 games out of an American League playoff spot.
“Look, it’s a broken record — we’ve got to do better,” manager Aaron Boone said. “We’ve got to play better. We know that. I think everyone in that room knows that we’re capable of playing better.”
Brandon Lowe has homered in two consecutive games and four of the last six.
“When Brandon’s at his best, he can hit balls out of the ballpark anywhere,” Cash said.
Rays: 1B Yandy Diaz was checked by an athletic trainer after stretching for a throw in the sixth. He’s been dealing with a groin issue. Diaz remained in the game and finished with two hits. “Not overly concerned,” Cash said. “We’ll always be concerned when he grimaces like that, but he’s going to have to manage this and he knows that probably the rest of the way.” … RHP Andrew Kittredge (Tommy John surgery) could return in mid-to-late August.
Yankees: After sitting out Sunday night in Baltimore, Judge was back in the lineup at DH and Boone said he hopes to play the 2022 AL MVP in all three games of the series. Judge returned Friday from a torn ligament in his right big toe that he sustained in early June. … 3B Josh Donaldson (right calf strain) took grounders and batting practice for the first time since getting hurt. But he’s not eligible to come off the 60-day injured list until mid-September.
An hour after baseball’s trade deadline passes Tuesday evening, Rays RHP Zach Eflin (11-6, 3.64 ERA) faces LHP Carlos Rodon (1-3, 5.75) in the middle game of the series. Eflin exited a loss to Miami last Wednesday with knee discomfort.