ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Masahiro Tanaka gave up four runs and six hits over four-plus innings in his final start before the playoffs in the New York Yankees’ 8-7 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday night.
New York started play with a 2 ½-game lead over Oakland to host next Wednesday’s AL wild-card game and has the tiebreaker. The Athletics played at Seattle later Wednesday night.
Yankees manager Aaron Boone hasn’t decided if Tanaka, JA Happ or Luis Severino will start against Oakland.
“A lot of people ask me that, friends, family, all that, and honestly I have no idea,” Boone said before the game.
A four-run, ninth-inning rally by the Yankees came up just short against Sergio Romo, who got the final four outs for his 24th save.
Aaron Judge hit a bases-loaded RBI single before Luke Voit drove in a pair of with a single off the center-field wall that Mallex Smith nearly caught. After Giancarlo Stanton had a run-scoring infield single, Romo preserved the win by retiring Tyler Wade and Miguel Andujar.
Tanaka (12-6) was coming off a four-inning start last Thursday in which he allowed five runs and eight hits as the Yankees lost 11-6 to Boston.
Tampa Bay center fielder Kevin Kiermaier was hit by Tanaka’s pitch in the first and left two innings later with what X-rays determined was a hairline fracture of the right foot. He made a running catch on Brett Gardner’s drive during the second.
After falling behind by three, the Rays went up 4-3 on Tommy Pham’s third-inning solo homer off Tanaka. Pham extended his career-best, on-base streak to 28 games, the longest active run in the AL. He has a hit in 27 of them.
Both teams scored three times in a first inning that lasted 40 minutes and saw Tampa Bay’s Ryne Stanek (30) and Tanaka (36) combine for 66 pitches.
Neil Walker hit a three-run homer off Stanek, while Tanaka walked one, hit a batter, allowed three hits and was charged with an error on an errant throw to second base after fielding C.J. Cron’s grounder between the mound and the first-base line.
Matt Duffy, who scored on Tanaka’s error, left after the inning with right quadriceps tightness.
Cron had an RBI double in a four-run eighth off David Robertson, an inning where catcher Gary Sanchez got his major league-leading 18th passed ball.
Yankees: SS Didi Gregorius (right wrist) resumed baseball activities and might return this weekend. … CF Aaron Hicks (left hamstring) will likely start Friday. … INF Gleyber Torres (hip/groin) struck out as a pinch-hitter in the sixth.
LHP CC Sabathia (8-7) could be making his final regular-season start for the Yankees on Thursday against a Rays’ bullpen game. He needs seven innings to reach 155 and get a $500,000 bonus.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)