The Yankees’ patchwork lineup had some success against the Twins this week, but its first crack at the Rays was much tougher sledding.
Rolling out another lineup that has been stripped of almost all of its key pieces because of injuries, the Yankees struggled to produce much offense in a 4-2 loss to the Rays on Friday night in The Bronx.
Right-hander Drew Rasmussen blanked the Yankees across six strong innings, scattering six singles and no walks while striking out 10. The Yankees reached second base three times in the first six innings, but could not get any further until after Rasmussen was out of the game.
“Threw a lot of hits out there, we had some chances,” manager Aaron Boone said of Rasmussen. “Obviously didn’t do a lot of damage against him. I thought he threw the ball really well. His cutter was terrific tonight to righties and lefties. His stuff was good. I thought we were competitive against him, made him work, but just couldn’t do enough against them. But I thought he threw the ball really well.”
Boone jumbled his lineup again to have Aaron Judge beat leadoff, followed by Gleyber Torres, Aaron Hicks and Isiah Kiner-Falefa. The Rays still didn’t shy away from pitching to Judge, who went 2-for-4 with a walk and an RBI.
The Yankees had their best chances against Rasmussen in the third and sixth innings, both times putting runners on first and second with one out. But in the third, Torres and Hicks struck out, each drawing boos from the crowd. And in the sixth, Rasmussen struck out Miguel Andujar and got pinch-hitter Giancarlo Stanton to ground out to end the frame.
The Yankees went 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position and left nine men on base.
Judge drove in the Yankees’ first run in the seventh inning on a single against reliever Jalen Beeks, but Torres grounded out after him to end the momentum.
Kyle Higashioka — starting behind the plate after Jose Trevino was placed on the paternity list earlier in the day — was the other bright spot, turning in a three-hit night that included a solo home run in the ninth inning.