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Yankees Pushed to Brink in Shutout Loss

Matt Moore had New York flailing for five wild innings, and the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Yankees 7-0 on Tuesday night to push them to the brink of missing out on the postseason for the second time in 19 years.

Ichiro, New York Yankees
Ichiro Suzuki of the New York Yankees walks back to the dugout after hitting a pop fly for an out in the first inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx. (Elsa, Getty Images)

Tampa Bay roughed up Hiroki Kuroda in tightening its grip on an AL wild-card spot with its fifth straight win. Matt Joyce had a leadoff homer as the Rays jumped ahead 3-0 in the first and David DeJesus had two RBI doubles.

Tampa Bay has a one-game lead over Cleveland for the top wild card with five to play. Texas and Kansas City played later.

The Yankees trail the Indians, who won 5-4, by five games — and also are behind the Rangers and Royals. The Yankees would be eliminated Wednesday if Cleveland wins and they lose.

Moore (16-4) gave up only three hits but threw three wild pitches to up his AL-leading total to 16 and walked six. Jamey Wright and Jake Odorizzi, who earned the save with three innings, finished the four-hitter that ensured New York could not pass the Rays in the standings.

The defeat also gave the Yankees 75 losses for the first time since they lost 86 games in 1992.

The Rays got right to work against Kuroda (11-13), tagging him for three more first-inning runs.

Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon put Joyce in the top spot with hopes of getting him going. In a 3-for-41 slump coming in, Joyce connected on a 1-1 pitch for the Rays seventh leadoff homer of the season. Wil Myers followed with a single and DeJesus drove him in with a double to right field. Evan Longoria’s sacrifice fly capped the inning.

Kuroda has yielded 23 of his 77 runs this season in the first inning.

After that, the biggest mystery for the eerily quiet late-season crowd of 43,407 was if the Mariano Rivera bobblehead dolls would arrive before the end of the game. The figurines were delayed by train and truck trouble in a cross-country journey, and the Yankees were forced to give out vouchers to the first 18,000 fans entitled to one of the promotional gifts in tribute to the retiring closer.

Alas, the bobbleheads arrived in the third inning.

The Yankees’ bats didn’t.

Ichiro Suzuki got New York’s first hit in the bottom of third and Alex Rodriguez and Alfonso Soriano walked to load the bases but Mark Reynolds popped out to right field and Eduardo Nunez grounded into a fielder’s choice.

The Yankees were 0 for 10 with runners in scoring position overall.

Kuroda settled down after the first and held Tampa Bay hitless until the sixth, when James Loney doubled with the bases loaded for two runs.

Kuroda extended his winless skid to eight starts, matching a career worst first done in 2008 with the Dodgers. The 38-year-old right-hander was having one of his best seasons until he was hit hard Aug. 17 at Boston. This time, he allowed five runs and five hits in 5 2-3 innings.

(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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