Rays improve to 30-9 after beating Yankees 8-2 behind Josh Lowe’s 5 RBIs

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NEW YORK – Even the sternest skeptics are starting to realize the Tampa Bay Rays are for real.

“There’s no reason for people to not think that. We’re capable of this, as we’ve shown,” Josh Lowe said after homering with a career-high five RBIs Thursday night in a 8-2 rout of the New York Yankees.

Drew Rasmussen (4-2) extended his scoreless streak against the Yankees to 21 innings, and Tampa Bay became the first team to open 30-9 since the 2001 Seattle Mariners. The Rays won three of four from the Yankees in a seven-day span, opening a nine-game AL East lead.

Tampa Bay has scored the most runs (239) in the big leagues and allowed the fewest (118).

“It’s really cool to see the things we’ve been able to do over the first month and a half,” Rasmussen said. “It’s nice to create a little space if we can, but by no means do I think they’ll be buried.”

In the opener of a four-game series, Lowe hit a three-run double on Ron Marinaccio’s second straight changeup to open a 4-0 lead in the sixth and added a two-run homer on Ryan Weber’s first-pitch changeup in a three-run eighth. The 435-foot drive over the Yankees bullpen in right-center was Lowe’s eighth home run this season.

Lowe has eight homers, 25 RBIs and a .314 average after entering the season 13 RBIs in 52 career big league games.

“He learned a lot from maybe not performing like he was capable of,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “It’s tough, and he lived it for a long time last year.”

Rasmussen (4-2) allowed two hits in seven scoreless innings with no walks and seven strikeouts, including Aaron Judge three times. Used as a reliever by Milwaukee, Rasmussen was turned into a starter after the Rays acquired him in May 2021 and displayed an array of fastballs, curveballs, sinkers, cutters and sweepers against the Yankees.

“Don’t have fear,” he said of the Rays’ teaching lesson. “The main thing they did is show me how many times I’ve been victimized on balls down the middle, and it’s a surprisingly low amount of times. Hitting is really, really hard, and so if you continue to attack the strike zone, you have a pretty good chance of success.”

Jake Diekman, signed this week after his release from the Chicago White Sox, pitched a hitless eighth in his Rays debut. Javy Guerra allowed a two-run single to Gleyber Torres with two outs in the ninth and finished a four-hitter.

Domingo Germán (2-3) fell behind in the fifth when first baseman Anthony Rizzo allowed Lowe’s grounder to bounce off his glove for an error and Yandy Díaz hit a two-out RBI double.

After going 1 for 20 with runners in scoring position while losing two of three at Baltimore, the Rays were 0 for 4 with RISP before Lowe’s two-out double off the base of the wall in right-center.

Germán gave up two runs – one earned – and three hits in 5 2/3 innings. The Yankees, who outscored Oakland 28-10 in a three-game sweep, failed provide any runs behind Germán for his second straight start.

Following this series, the Yankees don’t play the Rays again until July 31.

“You want to try to gain some ground on them” Judge said, “keep it close.”


Yankees: Selected the contract of RHP Ryan Weber from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and transferred RHP Jonathan Loáisiga (right elbow inflammation) to the 60-day IL.


Rays: SS Wander Franco was removed in the middle of the fifth inning with a spasm and tightness on the right side of his neck. “There’s a chance he’s playing in there tomorrow,” Cash said. … LHP Tyler Glasnow (oblique) was cleared to make his next minor league injury rehabilitation appearance Tuesday.

Yankees: Jake Bauers, whose two single were New York’s only hits in the first eight innings, appeared to reinjure his right knee making a sliding catch in left field against Lowe in the ninth. He hurt the knee crashing into the wall at Texas in his Yankees debut on April 29. … LHP Carlos Rodón, sidelined spring training by a strained left forearm, will likely resume throwing on Saturday, five days after receiving a back injection. … 3B Josh Donaldson (strained right hamstring) could resume a rehab assignment next week. He hasn’t played for the Yankees since April 5 and cut short his previous rehab after one game on April 18. … C Ben Rortvedt (left shoulder aneurysm surgery) was activated from the 10-day IL and optioned to Scranton, where he was rehabbing.


RHP Gerrit Cole (5-0), who failed to hold a six-run lead at Tampa Bay last weekend, starts Friday against RHP Trevor Kelly (0-1), an opener ahead of LHP Josh Fleming (0-0).

Nationals blow 6-run lead, rebound to beat Phillies 8-7

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WASHINGTON (AP) Lane Thomas singled in the go-ahead run in the eighth inning and the Washington Nationals sent the Philadelphia Phillies to their fifth straight loss, winning 8-7 after blowing a six-run lead.

The defending NL champion Phillies have just five victories in their last 18 games and are tied with the Nationals at the bottom of the NL East at 25-32.

“We’ve got to overcome it,” Phillies manager Rob Thomson said. “We’ve got to play better, get consistent in all phases and keep moving forward.”

Alex Call drew a two-out walk against Connor Brogdon (2-1) in the eighth, stole second on a low pitch that catcher JT Realmuto couldn’t make a throw on and scored on Thomas’ single to right center.

“The way Lane’s swinging the bat, if you can get on second base, we can win the game,” Call said. “I look over and the ball’s in the dirt, he doesn’t catch it. Now I’m saying: ‘All right, Lane. Come on!’”

Kyle Finnegan (3-2) pitched 1 2/3 innings for the victory, stranding the tying run on second in the ninth.

Nick Castellanos homered twice, singled, doubled and drove in five runs for Philadelphia, which had scored just three runs in its past three games.

“There’s definitely a lot of positives as a group,” Castellanos said. “Showing some fight. It would have been really, really easy to lay down and allow the way the game started to be the way that it finished.”

Down 7-1 after four innings, Philadelphia tied it at 7 in the eighth. Brandon Marsh worked a nine-pitch walk against Mason Thompson leading off, and Drew Ellis singled with one out. Finnegan came on to face Kyle Schwarber, who hit a ground ball up the middle. Shortstop CJ Abrams fielded it behind it behind second base, touched second for one out, but threw wildly to first and Marsh came home with the tying run.

Castellanos’s second homer, a two-run shot to center in the sixth, pulled the Phillies to 7-3 and Marsh added an RBI single in the inning.

In the seventh, Schwarber doubled with one out and Bryson Scott reached on an infield single. Hunter Harvey came on and walked Bryce Harper to load the bases. Castellanos singled to center scoring two runs to make it 7-6.

Luis Garcia homered and Jeimer Candelario doubled twice and drove in three runs for the Nationals, who have won seven of 12.

Philadelphia starter Zack Wheeler, coming off eight shutout innings against Atlanta, allowed seven runs on eight hits in 3 2/3 innings.

“This one’s on me really,” Wheeler said. “Guys battled back. Just couldn’t finish it out. We know who we have in this room and what we’ve got to do.”

Josiah Gray gave up four runs on six hits in 5 1/3 innings for Washington.

Candelario doubled just beyond the reach of left fielder Schwarber to drive in the first of Washington’s two runs in the first.

In the second, Abrams hit a one-out drive to deep center that Marsh misplayed into a double. With two outs and two on, Candelario doubled off the wall in right center to make it 5-0.

Garcia ended Wheeler’s night with a solo homer in the fourth.

“When you come out the way we did, you’ve got to tack on,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said. “It didn’t happen tonight, but we got one more than the other guys.”


Candelario is 9 for 26 (.346) with four doubles, a home run, nine RBIs, five walks, and seven runs scored in his last seven games.


Phillies: Thomson said RHP Taijuan Walker played catch Friday and there are “no worries about his next start.” In a four-inning outing against the Mets on Thursday, Walker’s sinker velocity averaged 90.6 mph, down from 92.7 mph for the season. His fastball, splitter and curveball velocity also dropped.

Nationals: OF Victor Robles (back spasms) took batting practice on the field for the first time since going on the injured list. … LHP Sean Doolittle (elbow) gave up a run on two hits and struck out two batters in 2/3 of an inning working his second straight night for Class A Fredericksburg.


Phillies: LHP Matt Strahm (4-3, 3.20) will start a bullpen game on Saturday.

Nationals: LHP MacKenzie Gore (3-3, 3.57) went seven innings and struck out a career-high 11 batters in his previous outing – a no decision against the Royals.

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