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July ends with a sweep of the Yanks

RAYS 5 YANKEES 3

W: Snell (3-4) L: Pineda (5-10) S: Colome (25)

ST. PETERSBURG – The Rays were winning again. Three in a row, in fact. Not only that, but they’d strung together 10 straight quality starts from their rotation and heading into Sunday’s finale against the New York Yankees, they were looking for four in a row and a sweep.

More good news?

The Rays are finishing July strong having won four of their last six and seven of the last eleven games to head into August and the trade deadline on a bit of an upswing.

Sweeping the Yankees at home definitely being the icing on that cake.

Sunday, the Rays sent rookie Blake Snell to the hill to face New York for the second time this year. The Yanks countered with Michael Pineda. Both pitchers took a scoreless game into the fourth inning before the Rays opened the scoring with RBIs from Tim Beckham and Kevin Kiermaier.

Brad Miller made history, for real this time, crushing his 17th home run into the rays tank in centerfield to set the Rays record for most home runs in a season by a short stop. That bomb put the Rays up 3-0 in the fifth inning as Snell continued to stifle Yankees hitters and even got himself into and out of a couple jams early.

It wasn’t until the top of the sixth inning that the Yankees would finally get to Snell. Carlos Beltran crushed his 22nd home run of the season into the left field seats with a man aboard to pull New York to within a run and still no one out. After retiring Sterling Castro, Snell’s day would be over at 101 pitches, ending the streak of 10 straight quality for the Rays.

“Blake was good today,” Manager, Kevin Cash, said post-game. “You could tell, curveball was a huge pitch today for him. Really strong outing by him, just kinda ran out of pitches there in the end.”

Pineda walked Nick Franklin intentionally in the bottom of the sixth inning to load the bases and get to a struggling Luke Maile. The rookie catcher made him pay depositing a single into centerfield to drive home two runs and give the Rays back their three-run lead.

“Big knock for him,” Cash said. “Glad he got one through the middle there and helped us separate the game a little bit. We needed those runs.”

After the game, Maile said he was sitting slider and that’s exactly what he got from Pineda.

“He started me off with it the previous two at bats first pitch. Kinda figured now was as good a time as any to try and sit on something at least for one pitch. I was trying to stay through a slider, there.”

After a rare error from Evan Longoria in the top of the eighth inning with Erasmo Ramirez on the hill, the Yankees started to make things interesting as Brian McCann singled home the run from second pulling the Yanks to within two. Erasmo has been another name thick in trade rumors and Sunday could very well be his last in game in a Rays uniform. The lone run would be it off the righty and Tampa would take that two-run lead into the ninth for All Star closer, Alex Colome to slam the door shut for his 25th save of the season in 26 tries.

NEXT UP:

With less than 24 hours before the trade deadline on Monday, the Rays could look a bit different when the World Champion Royals come to town to begin a four-game series.

PROBABLES v ROYALS:

8/1 – Danny Duffy (6-1, 3.22) v Chris Archer (5-14, 4.42)

8/2 – Yordano Ventura (6-9, 4.88) v Matt Moore (7-7, 4.08)

8/3 – Edinson Volquez (8-9, 4.70) v Jake Odorizzi (5-5, 3.88)

8/4 – Ian Kennedy (6-9, 4.23) v Drew Smyly (3-11, 5.29)

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