Yankees-Rays Preview

The New York Yankees have won four straight starts by Chris Capuano, although he deserved no credit for any contribution in last week's victory over the Tampa Bay Rays.

Capuano will try to bounce back from the shortest start of his career when he takes the mound Monday night against the Rays to start a three-game set at Tropicana Field.

Six of the seven Tampa Bay hitters Capuano (2-3, 4.90 ERA) faced reached base Wednesday as he failed to get out of the first inning for the first time after doing so in his first 217 starts. He recorded one out and was charged with four runs before the Yankees (76-72) rallied to win 8-5 at home.

"The execution wasn't spot on and was making some good pitches they were fouling off, I couldn't get them to miss it or put it in play to get that groundball that I needed," Capuano said. "The ones I executed they did a good job of battling and fouling them off and the level of execution wasn't there on the other pitches."

Capuano really hadn't pitched well in his three previous outings, giving up six homers over 16 2-3 innings and posting a 4.86 ERA as he went 1-0.

Tampa Bay hitters who are probably looking forward to facing the left-hander again include Wil Myers (3 for 3), Yunel Escobar (4 for 6), James Loney (4 for 6) and Logan Forsythe (4 for 10).

Escobar is hitting .354 in a season series that Tampa Bay (72-78) leads 9-7. The Rays are seeking to become the first team to win at least 10 games against the Yankees in three straight seasons since Boston from 1973-75.

New York realistically has no shot at reaching the postseason with a five-game deficit behind Kansas City for the AL's second wild card.

The Yankees lost three of four this weekend in Baltimore. Closer David Robertson failed to protect a one-run lead in the ninth inning of Sunday's 3-2 defeat.

''It was another tough one tonight,'' manager Joe Girardi said. ''Just have to move on.''

Jacoby Ellsbury is in a 2-for-25 slump, Mark Teixeira a 4-for-32 slide and retiring legend Derek Jeter is hitless in his last 24 at-bats and owns an AL-worst .510 OPS since the All-Star break.

Brett Gardner is 1 for 10 with five strikeouts in three games after missing six due to lower abdominal pain.

The Yankees will face a pitcher making his fifth career start in Alex Colome (1-0, 2.79), who has endured a rocky year. He was suspended for the first 50 games of the season for a positive steroids test and is back in the big leagues after going 0-1 with a 9.95 ERA in two postseason starts at Triple-A Durham.

The right-hander won his lone 2014 start with Tampa Bay by allowing one run in 5 2-3 innings in a 5-2 win at Baltimore on June 27. His only outing versus New York came when he allowed three unearned runs in 4 1-3 innings and didn't factor in a 7-5 loss June 22, 2013.

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