Pineda struggles again as Yankees lose 9-5 to Rays
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) The New York Yankees say they are not yet ready to drop struggling Michael Pineda from their starting rotation.
Pineda (2-6) allowed six runs and nine hits in 3 2/3 innings of Saturday's 9-5 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays, his sixth loss in seven decisions. His 6.92 ERA is the highest among 104 qualifying pitchers in the major leagues.
''As of right now, there's no changes,'' Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. ''He's got to fight, and we've got to help him be more consistent with his pitches. I think his velocity has been really consistent, and at times he's thrown the ball really well, so there's nothing that leads me to believe there's anything bothering him physically.''
Evan Longoria had a sacrifice fly during a three-run first, boosted the lead to 5-0 with a two-run homer in the second and chased Pineda with an RBI single in the fourth that made it 6-1.
''It's frustrating to start the season this way,'' Pineda said through a translator. ''It's never happened to me before, and I'm putting the team in a tough spot. Sometimes when you're anxious to keep the ball low, you kind of work fast, and that's what can cause this. I feel strong. I feel good.''
Pineda has given up six runs or more in four of 10 starts this season.
Longoria had gone 2 for 19 over his previous five games but has 30 homers against the Yankees since reaching the majors in 2008.
Only Toronto's Jose Bautista (31) has gone deep more times over the stretch against New York. Longoria's 89 RBIs against the Yankees since 2008 are most by any opponent during the period.
''We know at the end of the day his numbers are going to be where they need to be,'' Rays manager Kevin Cash said.
Matt Moore (2-3), winless in his six previous starts, gave up three runs and eight hits in 6 2/3 innings as the Rays won for the second time in eight games. New York lost for the third time in 10 games.
Carlos Beltran hit a solo homer off Moore in the fourth for his 2,500th hit. He is the 99th major leaguer, 10th switch-hitter and fourth Puerto Rico-born player to reach the mark.
''It means a lot,'' Beltran said. ''I think it's a great accomplishment, but right now we're trying to win ballgames. That's the main focus. I'm glad I've been able to play this game for a long time and I've been able to accomplish good things, but it would have been greater if we would have won this one.''
Beltran left after six innings due to right shoulder tightness.
''Right below his right scapula, it kind of knotted up,'' Girardi said. ''I think he did it on a check swing in the at-bat that he hit the home run. We'll see how he is tomorrow.''
Tampa Bay took a 9-1 lead in the fifth when Hank Conger doubled his season RBIs total with a three-run homer. The Rays had just 23 runs in their previous seven games.
New York scored twice in seventh before Enny Romero struck out Alex Rodriguez on a 1-2 pitch with the bases loaded to end the inning.
A-Rod was hitless in five at-bats, including three strikeouts, and 1 for 13 in three games since returning from a strained right hamstring. His lone hit was a two-run homer in Friday night's 4-1 win.
Yankees: Starter Luis Severino (right triceps strain) will make his first rehab start Sunday night with Class A Tampa. . Mark Teixeira (neck) missed his fourth straight game but could take batting practice Sunday. He might be back Monday.
Beltran joined Rodriguez, Barry Bonds and Willie Mays are the only big leaguers to have 2,500 hits, 400 homers, 300 stolen bases and 1,000 walks.
Yankees RHP Nathan Eovaldi (5-2) looks to extend his career-high stretch of winning four consecutive starts against Tampa Bay RHP Jake Odorizzi (2-2) in Sunday's series finale.