Jameson Taillon brilliant, Yankees lead 4-way winning streak with shutout win over Rays

ST. PETERSBURG, Florida. –Jameson Taillon hit two hits in eight innings, trailing Nestor Cortes to give the Yankees their longest straight starts in nine years and leading New York over the Tampa Bay Rays 2-0 on Friday night.

Gleyber Torres gave the Yankees the lead with a homer in the fourth against Jeffrey Springs (2-2) and Matt Carpenter, in his second game with New York, homered later in the inning.

New York opened a 6 1/2 game lead over the Rays by winning the first two games of the four-game series. The Yankees won their fourth straight game after a season-worst three-game losing streak and improved to 33-13, the best major league start since the Seattle Mariners opened in 2001 34- 12.

Taillon (5-1) improved to 5-0 with a 2.20 ERA in his last seven starts, striking out five and walking none while throwing 62 of 93 pitches for strikes. The 30-year-old right-hander hadn’t gotten an eighth-inning out since Aug. 7, 2018, for Pittsburgh, Colorado, when he pitched his second full major league game.

Cortes threw more than eight one-run innings as New York won Game 1 of the series Thursday 7-2. The Yankees’ starters hadn’t pitched eight innings in consecutive games since CC Sabathia and Iván Nova against Kansas City on July 9-10, 2013.

“Last night a couple of starters said, hey, let’s all go seven or eight this series,” Taillon said. “” So I woke up feeling a little nervous, a little pressured there.

Taillon retired his first 12 batters before Randy Arozarena’s first single in the fifth. Manuel Margot extended his hitting streak to 13 games with a brace in the sixth inning.

“Just another great performance from one of our starters,” manager Aaron Boone said. “I think they’ve been the best group so far in the league, I warn it’s early and we have to keep doing it, but I’m not surprised they’re throwing as well as they are. ‘them.”

Clay Holmes struck out two on a perfect ninth for his sixth save in six occasions, extending his scoreless streak to 24 innings and ending the game in 2 hours and 23 minutes.

New York threw six shutouts, one shy of the major league high.

“I guess we proved some people wrong and we could prove the Yankees were right to believe in us,” Taillon said. “I loved stepping off the pitch tonight and seeing the whole group come out and say hello. It’s really fun to be a part of it.”

Torres started fourth with his eighth homer, one shy of his total for all of last season. One out later, Carpenter hit his first major league home run since April 30 of last year.

“That was the thing that for the last two seasons, towards the end of my career in St. Louis, was kind of the missing factor — I just wasn’t hitting the ball hard,” Carpenter said.

Carpenter signed with the Yankees on Thursday and got his second straight start due to Aaron Hicks sitting out with a strained right hamstring. It was a deep blast in the right field seats.

“Every time you go from your living room to the best baseball team and you’re in this clubhouse with this group of guys, it didn’t take me long to walk in here and realize this is a group of really special guy.” Carptener said. “They have a good thing. It’s not just talent.”

Springs allowed two runs and five hits over six innings in his second major league start.

Tampa Bay has scored in just one of 18 innings against the Yankees.

“I didn’t want to start the series with two games like this,” said Kevin Kiermaier, who went 0 for 4 and pulled out two strikes, “but sometimes you face a jigsaw, and Cortes and Taillon were extinct.”

VAST IMPROVEMENT

The Yankees have a 2.91 ERA, third-best in the major leagues and down from a 4.13 ERA at the end of last season.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Yankees: 3B Josh Donaldson (inflammation of the right shoulder) was placed on IL for 10 days retroactive to Tuesday. The 36-year-old third baseman was on COVID-19 IL and hasn’t played since Sunday. Because the COVID-19 roster doesn’t count towards the 40-man roster, the Yankees opened up a spot on the roster by trading Chad Green (Tommy John surgery) to the 60-day IL. … DH Giancarlo Stanton (right calf strain) has started punching again, and manager Aaron Boone says Stanton could spend at least 10 days on the IL. … DJ LeMahieu was dropped from the starting XI for the fifth game in a row because of his left wrist, which received a cortisone injection.

NEXT

RHP Gerrit Cole (4-1, 3.31) is scheduled to start Saturday for New York against RHP Corey Kluber (1-2, 4.42), who was 5-3 in 16 starts for the Yankees on the season last, including a no-hitter in Texas. May 19.

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