St. Petersburg, FL – Jose Lobaton launched a three-run homer and finished with four RBI, and Chris Archer continued his dominance over the Yankees, helping the Tampa Bay Rays take a 7-2 victory over New York in the opener of a three-game series at Tropicana Field.
Ben Zobrist, Evan Longoria and Matt Joyce each added solo shots to provide more than enough run support for Archer (7-5), who held the Yankees to two runs on four hits and two walks over seven strong innings.
Archer has won all three of his starts against New York this season, giving up just three runs in 22 innings of work. He's the first rookie hurler to notch three wins over the Yankees in a season since Kevin Brown accomplished the feat with Texas in 1989.
"He's going to have to keep doing this and if he's going to do it for many years we have to keep him healthy," said Rays manager Joe Maddon. "But he's going to keep growing in stature."
The Rays have won seven of their last nine games to move into a tie with Boston for the top spot in the AL East as the Red Sox lost to the Dodgers on Friday.
All four of Tampa Bay's homers came against New York starter Hiroki Kuroda (11-9), who hadn't given up a longball since June 30 against Baltimore. The veteran right-hander was charged for seven runs on nine hits over six frames.
"It was really strange, he just didn't have his stuff tonight," said Yankees manager Joe Girardi.
Brett Gardner collected two of New York's five hits and scored both runs for the Yankees, who had a five-game win streak halted and fell six games back of the Rays for the top wild card spot in the AL.
The Yankees got to Archer in the first, as Gardner worked a leadoff walk and swiped second before moving to third on a fly out. After Robinson Cano fanned, Alfonso Soriano punched a single to right to plate Gardner for a 1-0 lead.
The Rays responded in the second when Matt Joyce smacked a leadoff single and Kelly Johnson followed two batters later with a base hit to center.
After newest Ray David DeJesus flied out to center for the second out, Lobaton launched Kuroda's next offering off the right-field foul pole for his sixth homer of the season and a 3-1 Tampa Bay lead.
Longoria and Joyce belted back-to-back two-out blasts in the third before Tampa Bay tacked on another run in the fourth when DeJesus scorched a double to right-center and scored on Lobaton's single to center for a 6-1 cushion.
Zobrist led off the fifth with his 10th homer of the season to push the margin to 7-1, but the Yankees got a run back in the sixth when Gardner laced a leadoff triple and scored two batters later on Cano's groundout.
New York would get no closer, however, as Archer stranded runners on first and second in the seventh before Jamey Wright and Roberto Hernandez each spun a scoreless inning to secure the victory.
New York first baseman Lyle Overbay was scratched from the original lineup with flu-like symptoms ... The Yankees are 5-15 in their last 20 games at Tropicana Field since July 21, 2011 ... Zobrist recorded his 75th consecutive game without an error, tying Aki Iwamura's club record for consecutive games without an error at second base ... Earlier on Friday, the Rays acquired DeJesus from the Washington Nationals for a player to be named later or cash considerations.