The Yankees had Sunday’s game all but won. They were cruising to a huge series win over the Rays.
They really, really needed this.
Then the Yankees blew it.
Stunningly and shockingly, the Yankees couldn’t hold a 6-0 lead with Gerrit Cole on the mound.
The Rays roared back to pull ahead, then wound up winning 8-7 win in 10 innings.
Isaac Paredes won the game for the Rays with a one-out, walk-off hit to right that scored ghost runner Brandon Lowe from second base.
“Tough one obviously, but it’s part of your year” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “We’re going to have great come-from-behind and we’re going to have these over the course of the year.”
The 28-7 Rays wound up taking two of three one-run games in the weekend series to send the last-place Yankees home 10 games back in the AL East.
“Overall in the series we showed up to play with them and I feel like we could have walked away with three of these games,” Yankees first baseman Anthony Rizzo said.
The clubs meet again four times in four days beginning Thursday night at Yankee Stadium.
In the Yankees’ 10th, Aaron Hicks started the inning on second base as the ghost runner and advanced to third on a flyball to right by Anthony Volpe.
With the Rays infield in, Gleyber Torres followed by smoking a grounder to short. Hicks took off for the plate and got caught in a wild rundown in which he forced three throws before being tagged at the plate by catcher Christian Bethencourt while Torres raced to third base.
The Yankees were up 6-0 after four innings and still ahead 6-2 with Cole in the midst of another dominant outing before the Rays stunningly scored five in the sixth to pull ahead.
The Rays tied the game on a three-run homer by Bethancourt, then went ahead 7-6 when Jose Siri scored from second base on Yandy Diaz’s groundout to the pitcher.
The Yankees took the knockdown punch, then punched back by tying the game in the seventh.
After homering and tripling earlier in the game, Harrison Bader blooped a leadoff single to right, went to third on Oswaldo Cabrera’s ground-rule double and made it 7-7 by scoring on Jose Trevino’s groundout to third base.
The Rays used opener Javy Guerra to pitch a scoreless first, then brought in lefty Josh Fleming, who was lit up for six runs in five innings.
The Yankees started their early onslaught by scoring three two-out runs in the third on two homers.
Anthony Rizzo went deep to open the scoring, DJ LeMahieu followed with single and then Bader hit a two-run homer to center, his second in three days.
The Yankees added two more runs in the fifth on RBI doubles by Hicks and Torres, then made it 6-0 in the fifth when Bader hit a leadoff triple and scored on a sacrifice fly by Cabrera.
With Cole on the mound, the Yankees seemingly would cruise the finishing line, but the Rays began a comeback back scoring two in the fifth. Siri hit a one-out homer for Tampa Bay’s first run, then a couple singles and a throwing error by Torres brought in another.
The Yankees still were in great shape heading to the home sixth, but a leadoff double by Harold Ramirez led to a five-run inning that ended with Tampa Bay ahead 7-6.
Cole was pulled after Bethancourt tied the game by hitting a grooved, first-pitch slider over the center-field wall for a three-run homer.
“I think they just took advantage of mistakes and turned it into slug,” Boone said.
From there, Jimmy Cordero came on and gave up the go-ahead run. The righty got himself in trouble right away by walking the first batter he faced, Siri, then a wild pitch put the lead run in scoring position.
Diaz followed by hitting a two-hopper between the mound and first that Cordero fielded and threw to first base for the out. But Siri sped around third, kept going and scored without a throw to the plate.
–Cole allowed six runs, five earned, over five-plus innings, hiking his ERA from 1.35 to 2.09.
—Bader was 3-for-5 and a double shy of becoming the first Yankees player to hit for the cycle since Melky Cabrera in 2009. The feat has been accomplished 15 times in franchise history by 11 players.
–Infielder Oswald Peraza sat out a third consecutive game due to a sore right ankle that occurred on a stolen base last Wednesday.
–This was the fifth time in 35 games that the Yankees scored at least seven runs.
Monday: Athletics at Yankees, 7:05 p.m., YES. LHP JP Sears (0-2, 5.06) vs. LHP Nestor Cortes (3-2, 4.91).
Tuesday: Athletics at Yankees, 7:05 p.m., YES. RHP Drew Rucinski (0-2, 7.71) vs. RHP Clarke Schmidt (0-3, 5.83).
Wednesday: Athletics at Yankees, 12:35 p.m., YES. LHP Kyle Muller (1-2, 6.62) vs. RHP Jhony Brito (2-3, 6.08).