Rays win as NY Yankees lose outright division lead
ST. PETERSBURG, Florida - The Associated Press
New York Yankees’ Derek Jeter (2) slides under Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Reid Brignac in an attempt to break up a double play throw that put out Nick Swisher. REUTERS PhotoThe Tampa Bay Rays beat New York 5-2 Sept. 4, stripping the Yankees of their outright lead in the American League East and intensifying the three-way fight for the division title.
Coupled with Baltimore’s 12-0 win at Toronto, the Yankees fell into a tie for the division lead with the surging Orioles after sitting atop the standings by themselves for 84 consecutive days - New York’s longest streak since 2004.
Evan Longoria hit a go-ahead two-run homer in the third inning before Desmond Jennings and B.J. Upton both cleared the fences in the fifth for the third-placed Rays, who are only 1 1-2 games behind the co-leaders. They had trailed by 10 1-2 games on July 18.
Baltimore snatched a share of the lead by routing the Blue Jays. Mark Reynolds hit a three-run homer for the Orioles, who have a share of the divisional lead in September for the first time in 15 years.
Baltimore starter Zach Britton (5-1) won his fifth straight start, but hardly needed to be at his best on a night when the batting lineup pounded out a season-best 18 hits.
In the West division, the Los Angeles Angels made up some ground in both the divisional and wild-card races by beating the Oakland Athletics 6-1.