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Bullpen melts down as Yankees lose, 11-5

Yankees reliever Cesar Cabral stands on the mound

Yankees reliever Cesar Cabral stands on the mound after giving up a two-run single to Tampa Bay Rays' Wil Myers during the eighth inning of a baseball game Friday, April 18, 2014, in St. Petersburg, Fla. Cabral hit three batters and was ejected from the game by home plate umpire Joe West. Credit: AP / Steve Nesius

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The Yankees' supposed weak link had been a surprising strength. The bullpen entered Friday night unscored upon in its previous seven games, quite an accomplishment for a unit missing David Robertson and with a slew of pitchers in new roles.

But the concerns about the group were realized Friday night. The bullpen allowed eight runs and nine hits in 21/3 innings in an 11-5 loss to the Rays that snapped a five-game winning streak.

"Everybody's going to have an off night; it just happened a couple of guys did on the same night," said Adam Warren, who allowed two inherited runners to score and also was charged with three runs after being unscored upon in his previous seven outings. "We'll bounce back. We've been pitching well."

In the fourth and eighth innings, Yankees pitchers retired the first two Rays to bat, and in the seventh, Tampa Bay had two outs and a runner on first. The Rays wound up scoring 10 runs in those three innings.

The Rays, who trailed 4-0 after 11/2 innings and had scored 16 runs in the previous 10 games, scored all 11 of their runs with two outs. There was a two-run double by James Loney in the fourth and an RBI single by Wil Myers in the sixth off Hiroki Kuroda before Warren allowed an RBI single by Desmond Jennings and a two-run single by Loney in the seventh.

"You know it's going to happen every once in a while," Joe Girardi said. "Obviously our bullpen's been very, very good for us and today we had a hiccup."

After the first two Rays were retired in the eighth, Sean Rodriguez hit a two-run homer off Warren before Cesar Cabral allowed Brandon Guyer's RBI single and Myers' two-run single.

"I was getting ahead of guys. I felt good about how I was throwing," Warren said. "Was one pitch away and couldn't quite make that pitch."

With the Rays holding a 9-5 lead, Cabral hit Evan Longoria, Loney and Logan Forsythe in a span of four batters in the eighth before plate umpire Joe West decided it was time for a pitching change, ejecting the lefthander. Girardi chose to keep West's explanation to himself but made it clear he wasn't pleased with it. "You can ask him," Girardi said.

Cabral was designated for assignment after the game and Garden City High product Matt Daley was called up from Triple-A Scranton. "I wasn't trying to hit anybody," Cabral said shortly before being told of his demotion in Girardi's office.

The Yankees (10-7) had been 10-0 this season when leading after six innings.

The Yankees gave Kuroda (three runs, 52/3 innings) a 4-0 lead in the second, helped by Scott Sizemore's three-run double, and Alfonso Soriano's RBI single made it 5-3 in the seventh.

The Yankees got a bad break in the bottom of the seventh when David Phelps was hit by Ryan Hanigan's line drive just above his right hip bone. Said Phelps, "If I was going to get hit, there or on the backside is probably the most ideal spot." Lefty Matt Thornton then retired one of his two batters before Warren replaced him with a 5-3 lead and things began going downhill.

Phelps said nights like this one will happen. "We all know what we're capable of, and it stinks there are times you're going to have a night like that," he said. "Nobody's perfect. We try as hard as we can to be. Things didn't go our way tonight. I'm sure we'll get back out there tomorrow and start a new streak."

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