Rays win as NY Yankees lose outright division lead

Rays win as NY Yankees lose outright division lead

ST. PETERSBURG, Florida - The Associated Press
Rays win as NY Yankees lose outright division lead

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 Photo

The 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.