Stellar 'pen work preserves lead in Yanks' win

Stellar 'pen work preserves lead in Yanks' win

NEW YORK -- With the effects of Hurricane Irma relocating this series to Citi Field, the Yankees had a prime opportunity to capitalize on playing road games in their home city. They did just that, concluding their "visit" with a 3-2 victory over the Rays on Wednesday, taking two of three in the series.

A three-run second inning, highlighted by Brett Gardner's two-run single, and another strong showing from one of baseball's best bullpens paved the way for the win.

"I think that's just what we try to do every day," said Chad Green, who picked up the win by retiring all four batters he faced, striking out three. "We can come in at any time. I think we're capable of doing multiple things out there. I think we all have the same goal."

Green strikes out the side

The Yankees now trail Boston, which lost Wednesday night, by three games in the American League East race. New York holds a three-game lead over the Twins for the top AL Wild Card spot. 

Rays to host Red Sox at the Trop this weekend

After pulling Monday's starter, CC Sabathia, after 4 1/3 innings, Yankees manager Joe Girardi issued another quick hook on Wednesday, this time to Jaime Garcia. The left-hander exited with two outs in the fifth after having thrown just 78 pitches, and did not say a word to Girardi as he left the field.

"I don't think I'm ever pleased when a manager takes me out. My goal is to go eight or nine," Garcia said. "I want to go as deep as I can in the game, but that's not my position. My position is to execute pitches and make pitches until they take me out of the game. Today he took me out, and it worked out for the team. Big win for us."

Girardi understood why Garcia might be upset about being lifted one out away from qualifying for what would have been his first Yankees victory.

"There's a time for that, but I don't think September, when you're four games out, is the time for that," Girardi said. "I think that early in the season, I probably would have left him in. June, I probably would have. July, I probably would have left him in. But you start to get to this point in the season, and you have to make some personal sacrifices."

Girardi on 3-2 win over Rays

From there, a combined effort from Green, Tommy Kahnle, Dellin Betances and Aroldis Chapman -- who came on for the final four outs to record his 18th save, and the 200th of his career -- held the Rays scoreless until Adeiny Hechavarria's RBI single off Chapman made it a one-run game in the eighth.

Chapman K's Duda for the save

"Like I've mentioned many times before, in baseball sometimes we go through a rough patch," Chapman said through an interpreter. "That's what happened. Today I did feel better about my command."

The first Tampa Bay run came via Kevin Kiermaier's solo shot to lead off the third, his second home run in two games. Rays starter Chris Archer threw 92 pitches in four-plus innings, walking three and firing two wild pitches. Tampa Bay's bullpen threw five scoreless innings, extending its scoreless streak to 20 1/3 innings.

Kiermaier's solo home run

"It's a tough loss, because we had opportunities," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "Credit their bullpen for limiting us, making some really big pitches when the game was on the line. And I give a lot of credit to our pitchers for keeping it right there."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Single (x4) equals three runs: The Yankees opened the second inning with three straight singles from Starlin Castro -- who broke an 0-for-14 slump in the process -- Jacoby Ellsbury and Todd Frazier, with Frazier's knock plating Castro. After Clint Frazier struck out and Austin Romine walked, the lineup flipped over for Gardner, who shot a 1-0 changeup through the left side to drive in Ellsbury and Frazier to give the Yankees an early 3-0 lead.

"I have three really good weapons, and I try to keep a steady mix of all three," Archer said. "In that second inning, I didn't execute. Threw a changeup -- base hit. Breaking ball -- base hit. Breaking ball -- base hit. Regardless of how hard they hit the ball, they're finding holes, and with the stuff I have, that shouldn't happen."

Gardner's two-run single

Threat thwarted: Girardi called upon Chapman for a four-out save in the eighth, and Chapman walked the first batter he faced, Steven Souza Jr., then Hechavarria -- who was 5-for-9 with a walk in the series to that point -- stepped to the plate. Pitching coach Larry Rothschild visited the mound to consult with Chapman. Six pitches later, Hechavarria lined a single up the middle on a 102.9-mph fastball to score Evan Longoria from second and bring the Rays within a run. But Chapman rebounded, striking out pinch-hitter Wilson Ramos to end the inning.

"He got behind the ball, and he was really getting after it," Romine said. "He looked pretty good, threw some good sliders in there and kept him honest. It's very important. He's at the back end of our bullpen, he's closing out games for us, and we've got full confidence in him."

QUOTABLE
"I have to execute better, period. I don't know what else to say. There's no excuse. I'm not doing what I get paid to do. It's tough, because it's been a while since I've had a 10-day span where it's been inconsistent, but it's part of it, and I think it's going to help me grow. Honestly, I think it's going to help me grow, and I'm just going to be more conscious and aware of what I need to do for my next start. But it's not the time for that. We don't have time for people to figure things out. We have to get it done. And I didn't get it done." -- Archer, on his recent struggles in the thick of the Wild Card race

Archer escapes bases-loaded jam

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Lucas Duda's single in the fifth inning snapped a franchise record and career-long streak of 13 consecutive hits going for extra bases. The last AL player with 13 or more consecutive hits for extra bases was the Angels' Brad Fullmer, who had 15 in 2002.

UNDER REVIEW
When Peter Bourjos scorched a grounder 107.4 mph, per Statcast™, right at Todd Frazier at third base in the fourth inning, the Yankees were in prime position to turn an inning-ending double play. Frazier did not initially field the ball cleanly, meaning his only play was to first. With Bourjos hustling down the line, first-base umpire John Tumpane originally determined that he beat the throw. However, a 54-second review overturned the call, and Bourjos was out.

Frazier gets the out at first

WHAT'S NEXT
Yankees: After a three-game stay at Citi Field as the "visiting" team in their own city, the Yankees will play in their own park on Thursday, when they begin a four-game series against the Orioles. Masahiro Tanaka (11-11, 4.82 ERA) will oppose Baltimore's Wade Miley (8-12, 4.96 ERA) at 7:05 p.m. ET.

Rays: The Rays will make their delayed return to St. Petersburg after Wednesday's game and will open their three-game series against the Red Sox at Tropicana Field on Friday at 7:10 p.m. ET. Chris Sale (16-7, 2.76 ERA) will start for the Red Sox against Matt Andriese (5-3, 4.46 ERA) in a rematch of last Saturday's game between the clubs, a 9-0 Boston win.

Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

Chris Bumbaca is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York and covered the Rays on Wednesday.

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.