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Yankees fall to 5-8 with 8-2 loss to Rays in series opener

Coming off a road trip that prompted manager Aaron Boone to express his desire to see more crisp play in almost every area, the Yankees’ fifth-inning display served as a microcosm of precisely what must improve — and in a hurry.

A Gio Urshela fielding error and an errant Rougned Odor throw extended a four-run rally as the Rays pulled away, dealing the Yankees an 8-2 defeat on Friday evening at Yankee Stadium. The Bombers’ bats were ice cold as well, managing only one hit through six innings against starter Michael Wacha.

Serving as the Yanks’ opener, Nick Nelson permitted two runs in a 30-pitch first inning before yielding to Michael King, who navigated three walks in three scoreless frames. Mike Brosseau doubled home a run facing Luis Cessa in the fifth, then scored when Urshela booted a Willy Adames grounder.

After two walks, Cessa induced a double-play ball, but Odor’s throw sailed wide of first baseman DJ LeMahieu as two runs scored, prompting jeers from the socially distant Bronx crowd. Mike Zunino gave Tampa Bay an eight-run advantage in the sixth, lifting a two-run double to left field that eluded Clint Frazier’s diving attempt.

Giancarlo Stanton hit a two-run homer in the seventh off Trevor Richards. The Yankees have lost 14 of their last 19 games against the Rays, including the 2020 postseason.