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Jameson Taillon has his ups and downs in Yanks' loss to Rays

Yankees starting pitcher Jameson Taillon, left, is taken

Yankees starting pitcher Jameson Taillon, left, is taken out of the game by manager Aaron Boone during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays Thursday, May 13, 2021, in St. Petersburg, Fla.  Credit: AP/Chris O'Meara

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — That was some odd night from Jameson Taillon.

Some good — in the form of a season-high nine strikeouts — but plenty of bad.

And the latter, on a night the soft-tossing 41-year-old Rich Hill was on his game, was too much to overcome in a 9-1 loss to the Rays in front of 6,229 at Tropicana Field.

The Yankees (20-17) had their four-game winning streak end, though they won two of three games in the series. They accomplished that despite having eight members of their traveling party test positive for COVID-19 in that span, the latest being Gleyber Torres.

"Crazy few days," DJ LeMahieu said by way of understatement. "Our pitching did an outstanding job [this series]."

Just not on Thursday.

Taillon, 1-2 with a 5.02 ERA coming in, alternated between being unhittable and exactly the kind of pitcher a struggling Rays offense was happy to face.

The righthander, strikeouts aside, allowed four runs, six hits, including a two-run homer, and two walks over 4 2⁄3 innings.

"Didn’t think he was far off," manager Aaron Boone said. "Just a couple of mistakes with runners on that hurt him."

Hill, briefly a Yankee in 2014 when he made 14 relief appearances with them, allowed three hits and three walks in 6 2⁄3 innings in improving to 2-1 with a 4.26 ERA. The lefthander struck out nine.

Down 9-0 in the ninth, Clint Frazier grounded into a double play with the bases loaded and none out to make it 9-1.

"We didn’t swing the bats too well," LeMahieu said of an offense that totaled five runs in the series.

Taillon retired the first two Rays in the first but a single by Manuel Margot, a double by Brandon Lowe and two-run single by Yandy Diaz made it 2-0.

The Rays (20-19) added on in the third when Randy Arozarena led off with a walk and Austin Meadows, who had a 10-pitch at-bat in the first before striking out, ripped a changeup to right, his team-best eighth homer making it 4-0.

Mike King, who took over for Taillon with two outs in the fifth and had yet to allow a run in four games, saw that come to an end in the sixth. He walked Joey Wendle to start the inning and Kevan Smith followed with a single. After King struck out Brett Phillips and Mike Brosseau, Arozarena blasted a sinker to left-center, his fourth homer blowing it open at 7-0. Meadows' two-run double off Justin Wilson in the eighth made it 9-0.

Notes & quotes: Aaron Hicks, who missed Tuesday’s game with a bruised right shin, was sidelined Thursday with a sore left wrist that’s had been bothering the outfielder "the last couple of days," Boone said. "We’re hoping it’s not a big deal," the manager added. Hicks was scheduled to undergo an MRI . . . Luis Severino, scratched from his scheduled live BP session Wednesday morning because of back stiffness, threw to three batters in live BP at the minor league complex Thursday morning. "I heard he was 96 mph [with his fastball velocity] and that it went really well," Boone said.

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