ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Gerrit Cole made a no-hit bid in the eighth inning, Aaron Hicks hit a tiebreaking triple in the ninth when Manuel Margot hit the wall of rightfield and the New York Yankees defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 4-2 on Monday night for their 50th win.
New York has won 17 of its last 19 games and its 50-17 start is the best in the major leagues since the Seattle Mariners in 2001. The Yankees opened a 14 game lead over third place Tampa Bay in the AL East.
Cole struckout 12 and walked three, giving up one run and one basehit in 7 1/3 innings. Cole struckout six in a row at one point and led 2-0 when Isaac Paredes hit a slide on his 105th delivery from the mound and into midfield. On June 3, Cole pitched 6 2/3 perfect innings in Detroit.
Clay Holmes (5-0) blew a 2-0 lead and gave up his first run since opening day, ending a 31 1/3 inning scoreless streak.
Anthony Rizzo hit a homerun in the first inning off Shane McClanahan, and the Yankees gave up a run in the seventh on an error by first baseman Ji-Man Choi, the 45th major league unearned run allowed by the Rays.
Making the score 2-2, Josh Donaldson singled off Jason Adam (0-2) with one out in the ninth and Hicks, who hit .321 in June, drove a hanging substitution high up the wall of rightfield. Margot fell to the field when midfielder Brett Phillips retrieved the ball and Donaldson scored. Rays manager Kevin Cash and an athletic trainer went to see Margot, who appeared to be in pain and knee and left the field on a cart.
Jose Trevino followed with a sacrifice fly.
Wandy Peralta threw the ninth for his second save, and the Yankees improved to 6-2 this season against the Rays, striking out Josh Lowe and fending out Francisco Mejía.
After Paredes singled to a clearly deflated Cole, Lowe flied out to Aaron Judge against the wall of midfield, and Holmes took off.
Mejía doubled down the rightfield line and Yandy Díaz hit a soft bounce to Holmes, who threw to first place for the out, as only the second of the 13 runners he inherited this season scored.
Margot hit a bouncer to the side of third base and Holmes’ throw to first base was off line and out of time when Margot reached with a single and Mejía scored to make it 2-2.
Rizzo hit his 19th homerun this season and became only the second lefthanded batter to homer off McClanahan this year, after Jesse Winker in Seattle.
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Jack Acker holds the Yankees record of a scoreless streak of 33 innings in 1969.
Yankees: SS Isiah Kiner-Falefa missed his second game in a row due to an injured left hamstring. … RHP Domingo Germán (eliminated since spring practice with a right shoulder impingement) has to rehab for the first time on Wednesday with Class A Tampa … LHP Zack Britton (Tommy John surgery last September 9) is going to give a bullpen session on Tuesday at the minor league complex of the Yankees in Tampa past and LHP Aroldis Chapman (last thrown on May 22 due to left Achilles tendonitis) will give batting practice. … Jonathan Loaisiga (right shoulder inflammation) pitched on flat ground at Tropicana Field.
Rays: CF Kevin Kiermaier left after two innings with left hip infection. … SS Wander Franco (right quadriceps strain) played shortstop Monday night in his second rehab start for Class A Port Charlotte. He struckout rehab Chris Sale from Boston, then doubled. … RHP Andrew Kittredge is scheduled for Tommy John surgery on Wednesday.
LHP Nestor Cortes (6-2, 1.94) makes his third start of the season against the Rays on Tuesday-evening against an undisclosed starter. Cortes gave up one run on four hits in eight innings in a 7-2 win at Tropicana Field on May 26.