Jake Bauers had two hits including a three-run homer as the Tampa Bay Rays pounded New York ace Luis Severino and held on for a 7-6 win over the visiting Yankees in the first of a three-game series at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla.
The Yankees loaded the bases with one out in the top of the ninth before Tampa Bay reliever Jose Alvarado enticed Aaron Hicks and Gary Sanchez into groundouts to earn his fourth save of the year.
The Rays continued their relievers-as-starters experiment with rookie Hunter Wood serving as Monday's "opener," and he went two innings before leaving for Matt Andriese (3-4), who threw the ensuing 3 2/3 innings to earn the win.
Five more relievers followed Andriese to the mound for Tampa Bay, with Alvarado going the final 1 1/3 innings.
Severino (14-3) struggled for the third straight outing, allowing seven runs, six of them earned, on 11 hits in five-plus innings with eight strikeouts and no walks. He's now surrendered 14 runs (13 earned) in his past 15 innings.
New York has dropped four of its past six games.
The Rays broke on top in the first inning as Sanchez's passed ball allowed Bauers to race home. New York wasted little time evening things when Miquel Andujar singled home Giancarlo Stanton in the top of the second to make the score 1-1.
That deadlock held until the fifth, when Bauers ripped a three-run home run over the right field fence off Severino that plated Kevin Kiermaier and Matt Duffy and staked the Rays to a 4-1 lead.
A passed ball by Tampa Bay's Jesus Sucre in the top of the sixth sent Stanton across the plate, and Sanchez followed with single that plated Hicks and cut the Rays' advantage to 4-3.
Daniel Robertson's solo homer, a double from Mallex Smith and single from Willy Adames opened the bottom of the sixth to chase Severino. Reliever Chad Green allowed an RBI single from Sucre and a run-scoring groundout by Duffy to drive in Smith and Adames, respectively, and extend Tampa Bay's cushion to 7-3.
But the Yankees again rallied, this time using a bases-loaded groundout by Didi Gregorius and a two-run single by Stanton in the seventh to pull back to within 7-6.
New York had its chances in the ninth, but Alvarado shut the door.
--Field Level Media