NEW YORK (AP) — Wilmer Font held the high-scoring Yankees in check in the latest Tampa Bay game “started” by a reliever, and the Rays held off New York 3-1 Sunday to avoid a sweep.
Matt Duffy drove in two runs with a second-inning single for his first multi-RBI game in over a month.
Carlos Gomez had an RBI double as Tampa Bay scored all three runs in the second against CC Sabathia (4-2).
Tampa Bay defeated New York for the first time this season. The Yankees opened the season with five straight wins, outscoring the Rays 31-10 over the games, and was trying for a four-game sweep.
In his fourth start of the season, Font turned in his best performance of the year in any role, allowing just one run in 4 2-3 innings with five strikeouts. Tampa Bay used a reliever to open for the 15th time in 29 games. Entering the game, relievers working as starters had allowed 13 earned runs in 18 innings.
Chaz Roe (1-1) pitched two scoreless innings for the victory. Sergio Romo, who has also drawn five starts this season, closed for his third save.
Rookie Willy Adames singled to center to lead off the Rays second. Adeiny Hechavarria, who missed nearly a month with a strained hamstring, singled for the first of his three hits. Gomez doubled and Duffy delivered a two-out single.
Aaron Hicks homered off Font in the fifth — it was actually the second homer of the day. Hours earlier, the Yankees held the 72nd Old-Timers’ Day and Nick Swisher, making his debut with the former players, hit a long drive to right field.
Hall of Famers Whitey Ford and Reggie Jackson were joined by the likes of Don Larsen, Willie Randolph, Andy Pettitte and Jason Giambi. Current New York manager Aaron Boone also took part for the first time.
Yankees: OF Brett Gardner (knee) was held out of the lineup with a little soreness.
Rays: Tampa Bay will start a reliever for the third consecutive day when the team opens a three-game series at Houston. The pitcher, to be announced, will oppose RHP Gerrit Cole (8-1, 2.40 ERA), who has won each of his last three starts. It will be Cole’s first career start against the Rays.
Yankees: New York heads to Washington for a makeshift doubleheader Monday. The teams will resume their suspended game from May 15 before a traditional nine-inning game follows. With heavy rain falling, play was halted after 5 1-2 innings with the teams tied at 3. The teams were set to resume play, and their interleague series, one day later, but rain continued to fall and both events were postponed. Boone will turn to his bullpen to begin the day and RHP Sonny Gray (4-4, 4.96 ERA) takes the mound in game two.
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