Good news: The Yankees scored a run. Bad news: It was only one run. And it wasn’t enough to exit with a victory.
The Yankees continued their abysmal offensive ways in their 3-1 loss to the Rays at the Stadium Tuesday evening.
Their recent offensive numbers are a stark contrast to how they performed in the first 70 games of the season. And even their lone run Tuesday — which came in the fifth inning to snap a 22-inning scoreless streak dating to the ninth inning against the Red Sox Saturday — hah some assistance.
Andrew Benintendi tripled off the centerfield fence and scored after Miguel Andujar reached on an error by Rays third baseman Yandy Diaz.
The Yankees have lost 11 of 13 games, averaging three runs. They have lost six of the last seven over that stretch, averaging just 1.3 runs and hitting .154 (35-for-228) during that run. They were held to four hits with one walk by five Rays pitchers on Tuesday night.
“I think we are going to turn it around soon,” Nestor Cortes said. “I don’t know when but this team is capable of doing big things. Obviously, we’ve shown it in the first half.”
After a rough first inning, Cortes did all he could to keep the Yankees in the contest.
Diaz and Isaac Paredes hit back-to-back singles to open the game. After a flyout to leftfield by Harold Ramirez, Randy Arozarena blasted a three-run home run to give the Rays a 3-0 lead mere minutes into the contest
Cortes allowed those three runs and four hits with no walks and three strikeouts on 97 pitches over seven innings. Over the final six innings, he allowed no runs with one hit and two strikeouts and faced one batter over the minimum.
“Everyone knows we’ve been struggling,” Cortes said. “We’re looking for that spark to turn things around.”
The Rays (62-53) trail the Yankees (72-45) by nine games in the American League East, the first time a team has been that close in the division since June 15. Aaron Judge said the Yankees still have confidence in one another to return to their winning ways. Still maintaining a large lead eases the worry for Judge a little bit, but not entirely.
“It’s a little different but it’s still stressful,” Judge said. “You never want to lose. Nobody here is happy about it but having a little bit of a cushion helps but that cushion can dwindle quick.”
The Yankees have four home runs over the last seven games (two from Aaron Judge and one each from Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Kyle Higashioka). Despite the recent power struggles, the Yankees entered Tuesday with an MLB-leading 192 home runs — 12 more than second-ranked Atlanta.
Even Judge hasn’t been able to provide a lift these last few games despite his tremendous season. After grounding into two double plays on Monday, Judge batted in a pivotal spot after a two-out single by Gleyber Torres in the eighth inning. But the 6-7 slugger grounded to Brandon Lowe, who stepped on second base to end the frame.
Judge is 1-for-14 with two walks and seven strikeouts over the last three games.
Manager Aaron Boone said he can see the frustration going around the team and some guys are beginning to press at the plate. The Yankees starting pitching has kept them in games lately, but they haven’t been able to record that timely hit offensively.
“We’re doing some good things, we just have to get it rolling now offensively at the plate and try build on some small successes,” Boone said. “But as far as the lead and pressure, welcome to Major League Baseball and playing in a pennant race. There’s pressure.”