ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Randy Arozarena homered in the first inning and then was hit by pitches in his next two plate appearances, leading to the ejection of Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash, as MLB’s top Rays beat the New York Yankees 5-4 on Friday night in the first meeting this season between the AL East rivals.
Arozarena homered to center field past Jhony Brito before the rookie right-hander hit the outfielder on the elbow pad in third. Yankees reliever Albert Abreu then hit Arozarena around the belt with a fifth-inning pitch.
An angry Arozarena walked slowly to first base and whipped his bat in disgust toward the Rays dugout.
There was shouting between the benches, but no problem on the pitch. The umpires gathered and issued warnings to both teams, prompting Cash to rush out of the dugout to argue with team manager and first base umpire Lance Barksdale.
Wander Franco put the Rays up 5-4 with an RBI brace against Jimmy Cordero (1-1) in the seventh. Yandy Díaz was initially called at home plate, but the call was changed after a replay.
Díaz hit a solo homer in a two-run third for the Rays (27-6), who opened a 10-game lead over the last-place Yankees (17-16) in the AL East.
Kevin Kelly (3-0) pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings for the win. Jason Adam worked the ninth for his third save,
Harrison Bader homered three-run off reliever Garrett Cleavinger on a four-run sixth that pulled the Yankees even to 4.
New York is without outfielder Aaron Judge (right hip), designated hitter Giancarlo Stanton (left hamstring) and third baseman Josh Donaldson (right hamstring), as well as starting pitchers Luis Severino (right lat) and Carlos Rodón (back).
Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp survivor Helen Kahan threw a ceremonial first pitch on her 100th birthday. The Romanian native lives in St. Petersburg.
Arozarena’s first inning delighted fans of “Randy Land,” a left-field seating section that made its official debut. Fans who buy tickets for Friday matches there receive an Arozarena t-shirt, and those of legal age receive a free beer if he makes a home run.
Yankees: Judge and Donaldson practiced at the team’s compound in nearby Tampa. Severino kicked off a minor league intrasquad game at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa.
Rays: 2B Brandon Lowe was out of the lineup for the second straight game with back pain. … LHP Josh Fleming, who took a 113.1 mph single downfield with his left foot on Tuesday, threw a bullpen mound and expects to pitch Sunday. … RHP Tyler Glasnow (outstretched left oblique) allowed two hits, walked two and struck out four in 2 1/3 scoreless innings in his first rehab start for Triple-A Durham.
Yankees RHP Domingo Germán (2-2) and Tampa Bay RHP Drew Rasmussen (3-2) are Saturday’s starters.
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