ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Ryan Yarbrough allowed two hits over six innings of splendid relief and the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Miami Marlins 8-0 on Friday night to close in on another AL East title.
The defending American League champions got three RBIs apiece from Randy Arozarena and Kevin Kiermaier, who was a homer short of the cycle.
Tampa Bay, which clinched a postseason spot Wednesday, has a magic number of two to win the division. A Rays victory and Boston loss to the New York Yankees on Saturday would secure Tampa Bay’s second consecutive AL East crown.
“Our whole group, we know what situation we’re in, and we just want to take advantage of that,” Kiermaier said. “Try to take that next step in winning the division, and hopefully once we do we just keep going and do not get content. We have to keep that motivation because we just need to keep this competitive fire that we’ve had and just ride that out as long as possible.”
Yarbrough (9-6) replaced opener David Robertson in the second and had four strikeouts. Dietrich Enns went the final two innings to complete a two-hitter.
Meanwhile, in Boston, Gerrit Cole showed the Yankees he’s ready for the important games soon to come. Nathan Eovaldi left the Red Sox with nothing but worries.
In a potential AL wild-card preview, Cole took a two-hit shutout into the sixth inning and led the Yankees to an 8-3 victory Friday night, snapping Boston’s seven-game winning streak and pulling New York within one game of the Red Sox in the standings.
“He’s a great pitcher. He’s our ace. He’s a horse,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “There’s a very short list of people you’d rather hand the ball to.”
With Boston in its lucky yellow jerseys and Fenway Park sold to capacity for just the third time this season, Cole (16-8) no-hit the Red Sox for 3 2/3 innings, and New York coasted to its fourth straight win.