By MARK DIDTLER Associated Press
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) _ Jake Odorizzi pitched masterfully into the seventh inning, Logan Forsythe and Corey Dickerson hit solo homers in the first, and the Tampa Bay Rays cooled off the surging New York Yankees 5-1 on Friday night.
Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner was expected to be at game that saw scouts from many playoff contenders in attendance for the start of a three-game series with Monday’s non-waiver trade deadline looming that could help determine if New York might join Tampa Bay as potential sellers.
The Yankees had won eight of 11 to get 3 1/2 games behind Boston for the second AL wild card, prompting manager Joe Girardi before the game to call the Rays series “big.”
“This is playoff baseball for us,” Girardi said.
Teams represented included San Francisco, the Chicago Cubs, Florida, Cleveland, Washington, Toronto, Baltimore, Texas and the Chicago White Sox.
Odorizzi (5-5) struck out five and allowed six hits over 6 2/3 innings. Alex Colome entered with two on and one out in the ninth, and got two straight outs for his 23rd save.
Ivan Nova (7-6) gave up five runs and six hits in 4 1/3 innings. When pulled by Girardi, Nova directed several comments toward plate umpire Laz Diaz walking toward the dugout and then fired his glove against the wall after reaching the dugout steps.
Yankees: RHP Bryan Mitchell, out since the end of spring training with a left toe injury, will throw in a simulated game Saturday.
Rays: RHP Alex Cobb (Tommy John surgery) resumed a minor league rehab assignment after taking 2 1/2 weeks off due to fatigue and struck out two over two hitless innings for Class A Charlotte.
Tampa Bay placed 1B Logan Morrison (right forearm strain) and OF Oswaldo Arcia (right elbow strain) on the 15-day disabled list. RHP Brad Boxberger (strained left oblique) was reinstated from the 15-day DL and INF-OF Nick Franklin was recalled from Triple-A Durham.
Girardi said DH Alex Rodriguez could start Saturday night after being out of the lineup six straight games. A-Rod, who singled as a pinch-hitter in the ninth, is in a 2-for-22 slump.
Rays LHP Drew Smyly (2-11) looks to end an 11-start winless streak _ that includes seven losses _ as he goes against Yankees RHP Nathan Eovaldi (9-6).
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