NEW YORK (AP) — Gio Urshela homered early, Clint Frazier drove in two a night after his walk-off homer and the New York Yankees overcame several sloppy moments to beat the Tampa Bay Rays 4-3 Wednesday.
New York had lost six of seven before winning its past two games against the AL East-leading Rays.
“You’re going to face adversity in the course of the season,” Boone said. “You’ve got to be able to deal with it.”
Jordan Montgomery (3-1) pitched 6 1/3 innings for New York, and only one of the three runs he allowed was earned. Aroldis Chapman was uncharacteristically wild in the ninth, walking his first two batters, but he worked out of the jam for his 12th save.
“Something was off,” Chapman said through a translator. “I made the adjustment and was able to get out of it.”
Tampa Bay dropped two in a row for the first time since May 11-12, also against the Yankees.
“We’re playing really good baseball,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “If we’re going to dwell on the last two games, we should dwell on the last 20 and we’ve done some really special things.”
After winning on Frazier’s 11th-inning homer Tuesday night, the Yankees went back to the long ball early against rookie left-hander Shane McClanahan. With two outs in the first, Urshela drove a first-pitch fastball into the lower deck in right field for a two-run homer. He added a double in the seventh.
The Yankees loaded the bases to start the fourth against McClanahan (2-1) on hits by Gleyber Torres and Rougned Odor, followed by Gary Sánchez’s walk. The hard-throwing rookie was lifted after retiring Miguel Andújar.
Frazier then hit a two-run single off Ryan Thompson to put New York ahead 4-1.
“It’s all about comfortability. It’s all about confidence, and right now I’ve got both of those,” Frazier said.
McClanahan allowed four runs, five hits and two walks over 3 1/3 innings, striking out six.
“I got myself in too many deep counts,” he said. “I don’t think my strike-one percentage was very good today.”
The Yankees’ defense slipped up in the fifth. Second baseman Odor fielded a routine grounder by Brett Phillips with Taylor Walls at first, but rather than take the sure out, he made an off-balance throw to second that ended up in left field.
Walls advanced to third on the error, then scored on Yandy Diaz’s sacrifice fly.
New York ran into two outs on the bases in the seventh, raising their total to a major league-most 29 such outs this season. Urshela was caught easily trying to advance to third as catcher Francisco Mejia blocked a pitch in the dirt, and Torres was picked off first base by Jeffrey Springs a few pitches later.
“When it’s back-to-back like that, and obviously what we’ve gone through on the bases this year, it’s not a good look and we need to get better at that,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “Fortunately, it didn’t cost us a game tonight, but those are things down the road that obviously can.”
Montgomery botched Joey Wendle’s grounder in the seventh, setting up another unearned Rays run.
The left-hander was pulled with one out having allowed five hits and two walks, striking out six on 99 pitches.
“We needed some length if we were going to have a good game today, and Monty gave it to us,” Boone said.
THE IRON HORSE
Wednesday marked the inaugural Lou Gehrig Day throughout Major League Baseball, and the Yankees honored their Hall of Fame first baseman in a number of ways, including a pregame video tribute. Gehrig died on this date in 1941 at the age of 37, succumbing to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) — known commonly as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
“It does cause you to stop and reflect a little bit, and really make you happy that MLB has started this day to hopefully raise awareness for such an awful disease,” Boone said.
BIG MAN UP THE MIDDLE
Aaron Judge started in center field for the short-handed Yankees, playing there for the first time since 2018. The 6-foot-7 Judge is tied with Walt Bond as the tallest center fielders in big league history.
The Yankees recalled reliever Brooks Kriske from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre before the game. The right-hander appeared in one game for New York back in April, allowing a solo homer in one inning.
Rays: LHP Cody Reed underwent thoracic outlet syndrome decompression surgery Wednesday and is expected to miss the rest of the season. … RHP Chaz Roe (strained right shoulder) is scheduled to pitch for Triple-A Durham Thursday.
Yankees: LHP Zack Britton (elbow) allowed a two-run homer in one inning of work with Double-A Somerset, walking one and striking out a pair. He threw 27 pitches, 15 for strikes.
RHP Gerrit Cole (6-2, 1.78 ERA) starts the series finale Thursday afternoon. New York’s ace has allowed just one run over his last two starts.