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Taylor Walls’ slam leads Rays past Yankees 8-7

May 14, 2023; Bronx, New York, USA; Tampa Bay Rays center fielder Jose Siri (22) slides safely into second base with a double with New York Yankees second baseman Oswaldo Cabrera (95) receiving the throw during the third inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

Taylor Walls hit a go-ahead grand slam in the fifth inning Sunday as the Tampa Bay Rays beat the host New York Yankees 8-7 afternoon to gain a split of their four-game series.

The Rays won four of the first seven meetings in the 13-game season series and exited the Bronx with an eight-game lead over the Yankees in the AL East. The rivals will not meet again until July 31.

After blowing late leads in the previous two games, Tampa Bay took a 1-0 lead in the first when Yandy Diaz doubled and later scored from third on Brandon Lowe’s RBI groundout. Diaz left the game with left groin tightness and was replaced by Isaac Paredes.

In the third, Jose Siri doubled to left and scored on a single by Paredes, who moved to second on a wild pitch, to third on a groundout, and scored on Lowe’s sacrifice fly.

The Yankees responded in the bottom of the third. Oswaldo Cabrera and Anthony Rizzo hit two-run homers off Tampa Bay starter Zach Elfin for a 4-3 lead.

Elfin (5-1) got the win after allowing four runs on seven hits in his six innings, striking out nine and walking one. He allowed both third-inning homers after he took a comebacker from Anthony Volpe off his leg.

Tampa Bay loaded the bases with one out in the fifth. and Randy Arozarena was robbed of an extra-base hit when center fielder Harrison Bader made a diving catch on the warning track in front of the 399-foot sign in center field. The sacrifice fly tied the score, and Yankees starter Clarke Schmidt (1-4) walked Josh Lowe to reload the bases.

Reliever Albert Abreu was one strike away from getting out of the jam when Walls hit a changeup into the first row of the right-center field seats near the Yankee bullpen, giving the Rays an 8-4 lead.

The Yankees weren’t done. Aaron Judge smacked an RBI single in the seventh off Kevin Kelly before Rizzo struck out with two runners on base. In the eighth, Volpe hit a two-run homer off Trevor Kelley to get the Yankees within 8-7. It was Volpe’s sixth home run of the season, third in the past week.

Jason Adam pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to secure his fifth save, getting Judge to fly out to the warning track.

Schmidt, who got his first career win as a starter Tuesday, allowed a career-worst seven runs and six hits in 4 2/3 innings.

–Field Level Media