NEW YORK (AP) - After a week without a win, the Tampa Bay Rays were hardly shy about describing their celebration Sunday.
James Loney got doused with an ice bucket. David DeJesus banged away on his cymbals. Loud music thumped through the clubhouse.
And it all started with Erasmo Ramirez.
The right-hander pitched out of early trouble in his latest terrific outing against the New York Yankees, and Tampa Bay took advantage of some shoddy defense for an 8-1 victory that snapped its longest losing streak of the season at seven games.
“At the plate we got going, finally,” Logan Forsythe said. “It’s nice to have a quality game.”
Loney and Forsythe each had a two-run single for the Rays, who had dropped 11 of 13 while falling out of first place in the AL East. They salvaged the finale of a frustrating series at Yankee Stadium that included walk-off defeats in the first two games.
Alex Rodriguez hit his 670th home run, the only damage against Ramirez (7-3) in six innings. Yankees hitters entered 2 for 27 (.074) against him this year and didn’t fare much better.
“They have a bunch of big left-handed hitters, lot of power, and I think his changeup really plays well for him against these hitters,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “He’s able to separate a lot with the fastball and the changeup combination.”
It’s not just the Yankees, though.
Ramirez is 5-1 with a 1.18 ERA in seven starts since May 30, yielding no more than two runs in any of them. He is 7-2 with a 2.17 ERA since joining the rotation on May 14.
“The right pitch, the right moment. Good defense behind me. Everything just came through,” Ramirez said. “Just happy how everything is going right now.”
The only bad news for the Rays came in a four-run eighth, when rookie outfielder Steven Souza Jr. was hit by a pitch on his right hand. He was removed in the bottom half and said X-rays were negative.
But he received stitches for a “really deep” cut that left his pinkie numb.
“I can’t really bend it too well right now,” said Souza, who will see a hand specialist in Kansas City and is day to day. “I’ll take some more lacerations if it gets us more wins, if that’s what it takes.”
Ivan Nova (1-2) gave up four runs - three earned - and six hits in five innings, the shortest of his three starts since returning from Tommy John surgery. He has lost five consecutive decisions against Tampa Bay after winning six of his first seven.
The right-hander walked three and threw wildly past third base on a bunt, allowing a run to score on the error.
“I thought he did a pretty good job for not having anything,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “He just had a hard time throwing strikes.”
Second baseman Jose Pirela, who entered as a pinch hitter in the seventh, made two errors on one play in the eighth. Forsythe knocked in two runs with a bloop single that landed on the right-field line beyond a drawn-in infield.
Loney grounded a two-run single in the first and made a nice play at first base in the bottom half to thwart a bases-loaded threat.
New York didn’t get another hit until A-Rod’s 16th homer of the season leading off the sixth.
“It was more of a mechanical thing,” said Curt Casali, who caught Ramirez. “As soon as he figured that out, it was smooth sailing. … I was proud of the way he battled today because we needed him bad.”
Casali had a sacrifice fly in the second following Kevin Kiermaier’s leadoff triple, which glanced off the glove of a rapidly retreating Brett Gardner in center field after he initially misjudged the line drive.
“We didn’t play our best game today - both sides of the ball,” Yankees catcher Brian McCann said. “You tip your cap to Ramirez. He kept us between speeds all day.”
SHAKE IT UP
Looking for a good-luck charm, Cash sent ace pitcher Chris Archer to home plate with the lineup card.
“Let’s mix it up,” the manager said. “Arch will have the lineup card tomorrow.”
FEELING RIGHT AT HOME
Loney has a .402 batting average (45 for 112) at the new Yankee Stadium. He is hitting .340 in 55 career games against New York.
Rays: C-DH John Jaso, sidelined since bruising his left wrist on opening day, was scheduled to be the DH for Triple-A Durham after a six-game rehab stint with Class A Charlotte. Jaso also will play at least one game in left field for Durham before coming off the disabled list. “He’s getting close,” Cash said, acknowledging it’s possible Jaso could return during the upcoming four-game series in Kansas City.
Yankees: Jacoby Ellsbury (sprained right knee) played seven innings in center field during his fourth rehab game for Class A Tampa.
Rays: With RHP Jake Odorizzi expected to come off the DL next weekend against Houston, RHP Alex Colome (3-4, 4.70 ERA) could be making his last bid to remain in the rotation when he starts Monday night vs. Royals RHP Edinson Volquez (8-4, 3.48). Cash said no decision had been made yet.
Yankees: RHP Nathan Eovaldi (8-2, 4.52 ERA) faces Oakland ace Sonny Gray (9-3, 2.09) in the opener of a three-game series Tuesday night.
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