Tampa Bay tries to move one step closer to its first series win in the Bronx in more than three years on Friday when they continue a four- game set with the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium.
Tampa drew first blood on Thursday, as Evan Longoria hit two home runs and finished with three RBI to pace a 14-hit attack that carried the Rays to an 8-3 victory.
Yunel Escobar added a pair of hits, including a two-run homer, while Desmond Jennings went 3-for-4 with two runs scored to help the Rays deal New York its seventh defeat in nine games.
Matt Moore (9-3) got back on track to toss 6 1/3 effective innings in the rout. The Tampa lefty had posted a wretched 13.86 ERA in losing his first three June starts, but held the Yankees' makeshift lineup to three runs and four hits while walking three.
"It is fun to win. Hopefully we can get some momentum going. We had a tough stretch over the eight or 10 games. To get two wins in a row is good," said Longoria.
Moore fared better than Andy Pettitte (5-5), who was reached for five runs and nine hits before exiting with two outs in the seventh inning.
"I have to figure out, when I'm out on the mound, how to make good pitches and get guys out. I'm just not doing that great of a job right now," Pettitte said.
Brett Gardner ended 2-for-3 with a run scored for New York, which managed just six hits after mustering three singles in a 6-0 loss to the Dodgers in Wednesday's second game of a doubleheader.
Tampa, which has lost eight straight series in the Bronx, will hand the ball to right-hander Roberto Hernandez, who is 4-7 with a 5.02 ERA. Hernandez lost to Kansas City on Sunday, holding them to four runs and nine hits in 5 2/3 innings.
Hernandez lost to the Yanks back on May 24 and is just 1-6 lifetime against them with a 7.50 ERA in 12 games (9 starts).
New York, meanwhile, will counter with righty David Phelps, who is winless in his last two starts. Phelps lost to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on Saturday, as he allowed four runs and nine hits in six innings to fall to 4-4, while raising his ERA to 4.08.
"They gave me a lead, and I gave it right back," Phelps said after the game. "Had a chance to go out in the seventh, threw two pitches and gave up a hit. That's not going to get it done."
Phelps beat Hernandez and the Rays in that May 24 encounter and is 1-0 in five games (3 starts) against them with a 2.50 ERA.
This is the first time this season these teams are meeting in the Bronx, where the Rays haven't won in their last eight series. Tampa has won four of its seven meetings with the Yanks this season.