NEW YORK – The New York Yankees are below .500 in the second half of a season for the first time in seven years. They’ve scored fewer runs in the American League than everyone but Houston and Boston, and the pinstriped players in the Bronx are hardly bombers.
No matter. Manager Joe Giardi is confident the Yankees will turn it around.
“This team never quits,” he said. “They never quit and they won’t quit.”
New York failed to protect three leads Wednesday in losing its season-worst fifth straight game, 6-3 to Tampa Bay. Sean Rodriguez had the big blow in the finale of a three-game sweep at Yankee Stadium, a two-run homer in the sixth that helped the Rays to their season-best fifth win in a row.
New York is below .500 at 41-42 for the first time since April 11. The last time the Yankees were below .500 during the second half was in 2007 when they were 42-43. They went 52-25 the rest of the way to earn the wild card.
Brett Gardner hit a leadoff homer and an RBI single against Jake Odorizzi (4-7) and added another hit for the Yankees. New York could muster little other than Brian McCann’s long ball on a sweltering day at Yankee Stadium.
New York fielded a lineup without two of its most productive players. Jacoby Ellsbury was given a day off for being “kind of beat up,” according Girardi. Mark Teixeira was also out after having fluid drained from his left knee, but Girardi expects him back in the lineup Thursday.
An offense that has scored only 330 runs and hit 71 homers stalled after Gardner’s bouncer got past James Loney for a 3-2 lead in the fourth.
“I still believe in this team,” Girardi said. “We just need to play better. It’s a lot of different phases. You can look at almost every phase and say we need to play better and we have to find a way to get it done.”
Ichiro Suzuki went 0-for-3 for the Yankees.
Royals 4, Twins 0
In Minneapolis, Jason Vargas threw seven scoreless innings and Raul Ibanez homered in his second game for Kansas City.
Orioles 6, Rangers 4
In Baltimore, Adam Jones and Ryan Flaherty hit solo homers.
Tigers 9, Athletics 3
In Detroit, Torii Hunter hit three RBI singles and capped a six-run burst in the sixth inning.
Mariners 5, Astros 2
In Houston, Logan Morrison drove in two runs in a big sixth inning and Chris Young pitched seven strong innings.
White Sox 3, Angels 2
In Chicago, Leury Garcia drove in the winning run with a pinch-hit single off Michael Morin in the ninth inning.
Nationals 4, Rockies 3
In Washington, after a replay review, Ian Desmond’s solo homer provided the go-ahead run for the Nationals.
Padres 3, Reds 0
In San Diego, Tyson Ross threw a three-hitter for his first career shutout and Rene Rivera hit a three-run single off big league ERA leader Johnny Cueto.
Braves 3, Mets 1
In Atlanta, Chris Johnson hit a three-run double, Julio Teheran pitched seven strong innings and the Braves polished off a three-game sweep of the Mets.
Pirates 5, Diamondbacks 1
In Pittsburgh, Gregory Polanco homered, Charlie Morton continued his effective pitching at home and the Pirates won for the fifth time in six games.
Marlins 5, Phillies 0
In Miami, Casey McGehee reached base three times, doubled home a run and scored another.
Cardinals 2, Giants 0
In San Francisco, Adam Wainwright allowed four hits over 7⅔ innings.
Blue Jays 7, Brewers 4
In Toronto, Edwin Encarnacion hit a three-run, walk-off home run in the ninth inning.
Munenori Kawasaki went 0-for-4 for the Blue Jays.
Cubs 16, Red Sox 9
In Boston, Justin Ruggiano, Mike Olt and Welington Castillo hit two-run homers to power Chicago in the finale of a three-game interleague series sweep.
Indians 5, Dodgers 4
In Los Angeles, Mike Aviles capped a three-run eighth inning with a two-run single against Brian Wilson.