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Kuroda, Gardner lead Yankees over Rays

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Hiroki Kuroda pitched neatly into the seventh inning, Brett Gardner drove in two runs and the New York Yankees beat the Tampa Bay Rays 4-2 on Sunday.

Mark Teixeira #25 of the New York Yankees swings at the ball during the first inning against the Tampa Bay Rays. (Photo by Scott Iskowitz/Getty Images)

Kuroda (8-8) retired 17 straight batters after allowing consecutive one-out singles to Ben Zobrist and Matt Joyce in the first.

Kuroda gave up two runs and four hits in 6 2-3 innings. After Shawn Kelley and Dellin Betances combined for 1 1-3 scoreless innings, David Robertson closed for his 33rd save.

New York has won two in a row after losing five straight.

Jeremy Hellickson (1-2) didn’t allow a hit until there were two outs in the fifth.

After a walk to Stephen Drew, Martin Prado doubled and Gardner followed with a two-run single. Jacoby Ellsbury, hitless in his previous 17 at-bats during a five-game road trip, made it 3-1 with an RBI single on New York’s fourth straight hit.

Hellickson made his sixth start after right elbow surgery in January. He left after the fifth.

Mark Teixeira reached 20 homers for the 11th time in his career with a solo shot in the Yankees eighth.

Evan Longoria had two RBIs for the Rays. He hit a run-scoring grounder in the first and drove in Joyce with a seventh-inning single that pulled Tampa Bay within 3-2.

Prado also made several strong defensive plays at second base during Kuroda’s long run of consecutive outs.

Tampa Bay had its club record of holding opponents to three runs or less end at 12 consecutive games. The Rays were just 7-5 over the stretch.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Yankees: Derek Jeter was the DH for the second straight game and sixth time this season. Jeter fouled a ball off his lower left leg Saturday, but manager Joe Girardi said giving Jeter a break from the turf at Tropicana Field was behind the decision.

Rays: C Ryan Hanigan (left oblique) has been doing on-field drills.

ON DECK

Yankees: LHP Chris Capuano (1-3) is scheduled to start against Houston LHP Brett Oberholtzer (4-8) Tuesday night.

Rays: Tampa Bay and Detroit begin a three-game series Tuesday night. Former Rays ace David Price is scheduled to face Tampa Bay for the first time Thursday.

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