MLB: Yankees face unbeaten Rays LHP Shane McClanahan

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The New York Yankees are starting to hit homers more frequently, and it helped them even their four-game series with the Tampa Bay Rays.

After belting three long balls on Friday, New York’s challenge on Saturday afternoon is to produce against Tampa Bay’s Shane McClanahan, who has allowed just four homers in 46 innings in an undefeated start to the season.

The Yankees are 2-3 against the Rays this year, with both victories coming courtesy of late-inning rallies. In New York’s 6-5 win on Friday, Anthony Rizzo hit a go-ahead, two-run homer in the eighth inning off Jason Adam.

The clutch blast was Rizzo’s second homer of the game, as he hit safely for the ninth time in 10 games.

“He was at his best tonight and we needed it,” New York ace Gerrit Cole said of Rizzo.

Rookie Anthony Volpe also went deep as the Yankees collected multiple homers for the seventh time in 10 games, a stretch in which they are 7-3.

New York had lost the series opener 8-2 on Thursday following a three-game sweep of the Oakland Athletics.

“It hasn’t been easy for us, it hasn’t been perfect,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “We’ve been beat up at different times, but this group is really competing well and that rang true tonight.”

Tampa Bay heads into Saturday with three losses in four games, leaving the team 17-10 since opening the season with a 13-game winning streak.

The Rays hit multiple homers for the 23rd time on Friday as Randy Arozarena and Jose Siri hit solo homers before Josh Lowe belted a three-run homer in the eighth shortly before Rizzo’s second homer.

“We did a lot of really good things,” Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash said. “It was a pretty exciting ballgame.”

McClanahan’s early results are producing excitement for the Rays, who are 8-0 in his starts.

McClanahan (7-0, 1.76 ERA) can become the first eight-game winner in the majors. He remained unbeaten on Monday when he allowed four hits in six innings during a 3-0 win over the host Baltimore Orioles.

The left-hander is attempting to become the third starter in team history to win his first eight decisions. Matt Moore won his first eight decisions in 2013 and Charlie Morton matched it in 2019.

McClanahan is 1-3 with a 3.26 ERA in six career starts against the Yankees. Last season, he was 1-1 with a 1.50 ERA in three starts vs. New York.

Nestor Cortes (3-2, 4.74 ERA) will make his 100th career appearance and second since recovering from strep throat following his April 30 start in Texas. After being tagged for seven runs in 4 2/3 innings by the Rangers, Cortes allowed two runs on six hits in five-plus innings of a no-decision against the Oakland Athletics on Monday.

Cortes is 2-3 with a 3.74 ERA in 11 career appearances (six starts) against the Rays. Last season, he was 2-2 with a 3.28 ERA in four starts against Tampa Bay, including a win on May 26 at St. Petersburg, Fla., when he pitched eight innings of one-run ball.

–Field Level Media

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