Nestor Cortes struggles as Yankees fall to Rays, 7-2

Nestor Cortes was not at his best and the Tampa Bay Rays took advantage as they beat the Yankees, 7-2, on Saturday afternoon.

Here are the takeaways…

-The Rays welcomed Cortes to their home when Yandy Diaz sent the first pitch the Yankees starter threw into the left field stands to give Tampa an early 1-0 lead. It wouldn’t be the last time the Rays jumped on Cortes.

Randy Arozarenza took Cortes deep in the third inning with men on second and third to give Tampa a 4-2 lead.

Cortes simply didn’t have it on this day. The left-hander went 5.1 innings (89 pitches/53 strikes), giving up four runs on five hits, three walks and striking out five batters.

-The Yankees’ bullpen wasn’t much better. The Rays brought home three more runs in the seventh off of Dennis Santana. The combination of Santana, Ian Hamilton and Michael Tonkin combined for 2.2 innings. However, Santana’s three runs stand out.

-Manager Aaron Boone put out a different lineup from the norm. Gleyber Torres got the day off and Oswaldo Cabrera played second. Jon Berti started at third and Trent Grisham was in center, with Aaron Judge playing DH.

That bottom of the lineup paid off in the second inning when Anthony Rizzo walked and Austin Wells doubled. Grisham walked to load the bases for Anthony Volpe, who drove in two with a single. However, the rest of the lineup just couldn’t get much going against Tampa Bay’s pitching.

The Yankees had a total of five hits with Volpe coming up with three of them. Rizzo, who is arguably the Yankees’ hottest hitter and who gave the Yankees a 2-0 win in Friday’s game, went 0-for-3 with a walk and a run.

Over his last seven games, Rizzo is 7-for-23 with two home runs and six RBI.

Game MVP: Yandy Diaz

The first baseman got the scoring started with his leadoff homer and had three big hits in total, including a double in the later innings.


What’s next

The Yankees look for the series win against the Rays on Sunday afternoon. First pitch is set for 1:40 p.m.

Luis Gil (3-1, 2.92 ERA) will be on the mound for New York. Tampa Bay has yet to announce a starter.