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Yankees’ Nestor Cortes holds down Rays

May 26, 2022; St. Petersburg, Florida, USA; New York Yankees pitcher Nestor Cortes (65) throws a pitch during the first inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Nestor Cortes allowed four hits over eight-plus innings, Aaron Judge drove in two runs and the New York Yankees pounded the Tampa Bay Rays 7-2 on Thursday night in St. Petersburg, Fla.

In winning his third straight start, Cortes (4-1) gave up a first-inning single then retired 14 straight before Isiah Kiner-Falefa’s throwing error opened the sixth inning.

Cortes allowed one run, struck out five and walked one in a career-high 109-pitch outing before Wander Franco’s leadoff single chased him in the ninth.

Judge (1-for-3) notched a single, walk, run, two RBIs and a stolen base as the Yankees won their third straight to start the four-game series with the second-place Rays.

Signed earlier in the day, three-time All-Star Matt Carpenter manned the designated hitter spot and went 0-for-2 with a walk, hit-by-pitch and two runs.

Ryan Yarbrough (0-1) spun five no-hit innings, but New York got him for three runs — two earned — in the sixth. He allowed two hits, a walk and a hit batter in 5 1/3 innings while whiffing five.

Manuel Margot (2-for-4, RBI) doubled to extend his hitting streak to 13 games and Harold Ramirez had two hits, but the Rays had their two-game winning streak snapped.

Yarbrough faced just one batter over the minimum over the first four innings. Cortes nearly matched his counterpart’s efficiency by yielding just two baserunners in the span.

Across a dominating first four innings, the southpaw duo each threw 53 pitches and retired 11 straight batters as they baffled the hitters with a carefully crafted mixture of pitches and a fast pace on the mound.

Yarbrough retired 14 straight, but he hit Carpenter with a pitch to start the sixth. Marwin Gonzalez then stroked New York’s first hit, a single to center, and Judge grounded an RBI single.

After Judge swiped second base and Gleyber Torres popped out, Andujar hit a two-out grounder that shortstop Taylor Walls fielded before stumbling. Andujar beat the throw and was credited with a hit and an RBI, but Walls’ throw got by first, allowing Judge to score for a 3-0 lead.

In the seventh, Kiner-Falefa scored on a wild pitch. Judge hit a sacrifice fly, Rizzo doubled in a run and another scored on Vidal Brujan’s throwing error in a three-run ninth.

Margot broke up the shutout bid with an infield single, and Isaac Paredes produced an RBI fielder’s choice.

–Field Level Media