Back-to-back HRs by McCann, A-Rod lift Yankees over Rays 6-4
NEW YORK (AP) Facing a pitcher who has always had their number, the New York Yankees struck for a sudden rally.
Brian McCann and Alex Rodriguez hit back-to-back homers off All-Star Chris Archer that sent the Yankees past the Tampa Bay Rays 6-4 on Sunday.
''Archer's one of the best pitchers in the game,'' McCann said. ''He's right up at the top and when you can scratch and claw and come back and get a win like that, it was huge.''
Ivan Nova pitched six solid innings to help the Yankees take two of three in the series. New York, which leads the American League wild-card chase, remained 1 1/2 games behind first-place Toronto in the AL East.
The Blue Jays beat Baltimore 10-4.
On a picture-perfect afternoon in the Bronx, Archer was doing what he's always done - dominate the Yankees. The 26-year-old righty, who had never lost to New York, kept hitters off balance with a slider that opposing manager Joe Girardi suggested might be the best in the game.
That was, until the sixth inning. After the first 18 Yankees batters were held to one hit, New York finally broke through and erased a 3-0 deficit.
Archer (12-11) got two outs sandwiched around Jacoby Ellsbury's single, but then began having trouble with his control. Following a walk to Carlos Beltran, McCann drove a 3-1 pitch deep into the right-center bleachers to tie the score at 3 - his career-high 25th home run.
''We were sleepwalking there about five innings and Archer basically dominated us,'' Rodriguez said. ''Mac has been huge all year.''
Archer, who had allowed only one home run in eight previous starts against New York, saw his very next pitch to Rodriguez also wind up in the seats, giving the Yankees 4-3 lead.
''I didn't execute in the biggest moment of the game,'' said Archer, who entered 5-0 with a 1.78 ERA against the Yankees. ''Am I disappointed? Of course. We need to win every single game.''
New York added a run in the seventh when Didi Gregorius scored on a throwing error by second baseman Logan Forsythe.
Asdrubal Cabrera closed the gap to 5-4 with an eighth-inning homer just inside the right-field foul pole off Dellin Betances. New York made it 6-4 in the bottom half when September call-up Rico Noel scored his first career run on Gregorius' single.
Nova (6-7) had trouble commanding his breaking ball early in the game but settled down nicely. He yielded three runs and six hits to stop a three-start losing streak.
Andrew Miller stranded two runners in the ninth for his 31st save in 32 attempts.
Kevin Kiermaier hit a two-run homer off Nova in the second on a hanging curve. Forsythe added an RBI single in the third.
Rodriguez's single in the eighth was his 3,053rd hit, tying Rod Carew for 23rd place on the career list. ''Rod was very good to me early in my career when he was a hitting coach with the Angels and I was a young lad with the Mariners,'' Rodriguez said. ''So I really have a lot of respect and appreciation for Mr. Carew.''
Rays: OF Steven Souza Jr. (broken left hand) began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Durham on Saturday night, going 2 for 4 with a run as the DH. Souza is scheduled to play in the Bulls' final two games of the season as well. ... 3B Evan Longoria, who left Saturday's game with a bruised right forearm after being hit by a pitch, was in the starting lineup.
Yankees: CC Sabathia is tentatively scheduled to start Wednesday night against Baltimore. Sabathia, who has been on the 15-day disabled list since Aug. 24, will wear a brace on his right knee going forward. The 35-year-old lefty threw a bullpen on Sunday and said that he felt fine afterward. ''The plan is on Wednesday but I want to make sure he gets through everything,'' Girardi said. ''He felt good yesterday and we'll make sure he feels good after his bullpen.''
Rays: Tampa Bay heads to Detroit, sending LHP Drew Smyly (2-2, 3.11 ERA) to the mound against his former club in the series opener Monday. He faces journeyman Randy Wolf (0-3, 6.11). The 39-year-old Wolf, acquired from Toronto on Aug. 20, makes his fourth start for the Tigers after spending most of the season at Triple-A.
Yankees: New York welcomes the Orioles to town for a three-game set, opening with RHP Michael Pineda (10-8, 4.07) on Monday. Pineda is coming off of a strong outing in Boston, where he earned the win after three straight defeats. Baltimore counters with lefty Wei-Yin Chen (8-7, 3.36), who leads the staff in ERA and has won four of his last five decisions.