The Rays Rout Woeful Yanks, 8-1

first_imgNEW YORK — Steven Souza Jr. celebrated his 27th birthday in style. Drew Smyly was the guy getting all the gifts.Souza homered twice and the Tampa Bay Rays went deep five times in all, finally giving Smyly some run support April 24 in an 8-1 victory over the New York Yankees.“We’ve got a lot of thump,” Souza said. “We got off to a slow start. We faced some tough pitchers early on, some real good ones. And this last week and a half or so, guys have really started to fall into their groove.”Souza and Corey Dickerson each hit a two-run homer in a five-run first inning against Michael Pineda. That was a welcome present for Smyly, who had received three runs of support in his first three starts this year.Steve Pearce and Logan Forsythe added solo shots to help Tampa Bay prevent a three-game sweep and finish 3-3 on its road trip to Boston and New York.“It was awesome,” Smyly said. “It makes my job way easier when you have a big lead like that.”Alex Rodriguez exited with stiffness on his left side, but New York received positive news after the game when results of an MRI on his oblique were negative. No immediate roster move will be made and A-Rod was traveling with the team to Texas, the Yankees said.The 40-year-old slugger drove in New York’s run with a fourth-inning double off the top of the left-field fence, then was pulled for a pinch hitter in the sixth.“He was warming up to take his at-bat, is when he felt it,” Manager Joe Girardi said. “Taking a few swings in the cage.”“Anytime someone leaves with an oblique, you’re not really optimistic because they take a while depending on the severity of it,” Girardi added before the MRI results were announced. “And I even think sometimes when players physically feel ready, I still don’t think they have the strength that they had before.”New York completed a 3-6 homestand and lost for the eighth time in 11 games.Smyly (1-2) went seven innings in his third consecutive strong start. The left-hander allowed six hits and one walk with six strikeouts, five days after dominating the Red Sox.“I think I’m just starting to kind of understand the hitters, starting to understand myself, have more of a game plan out there,” said Smyly, whose college roommate at Arkansas was AL Cy Young Award winner Dallas Keuchel of the Houston Astros. “Every game with experience you learn something new, you get better and better. I’m feeling healthy and things are going well.”Pineda (1-2) retired his first two batters and was ahead 0-2 on Evan Longoria before he doubled off the center-field fence. Dickerson followed with his fifth homer, deep into the right-field bleachers.Pearce singled and scored on a double by slumping Brad Miller before Souza homered deep into the left-field stands. With that, the Rays had scored five runs in a span of nine pitches.Tampa Bay (8-10) scored three runs or fewer in 13 of its first 17 games. “We’ve been a little bit quiet here and there, but these guys can hit,” Manager Kevin Cash said. “Evident today.”(MIKE FITZPATRICK, AP Baseball Writer)TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img

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