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Rays sweep Yankees for fourth straight win (w/video)

ST. PETERSBURG — The story Sunday wasn't about the Rays' starting pitching, though rookie Blake Snell pitched well enough against the visiting Yankees to help his team complete a three-game sweep.

Instead, there were other components to the Rays' 5-3 victory — namely, defense and baserunning — that enabled them to match their season high with a fourth straight victory.

The Rays (42-61) turned three double plays, including two behind Snell that helped him escape a pair of jams.

They hustled on the bases, with aggressive running by Corey Dickerson and Steven Souza Jr. that produced three runs.

And there was another monster blast from Brad Miller, a solo home run in the fifth inning that landed on the netting over the touch tank in right-centerfield for a 3-0 lead.

Pitching, defense, aggressive baserunning and power — the four horsemen of what was supposed to be a winning 2016 season.

"Yeah, we're playing the style of baseball that we feel we're built for," manager Kevin Cash said. "We got to continue to kind of keep the pace here, because we put ourselves in a little bit of a hole, but it does feel really good. It's gotten fun here over this weekend. It's been a lot of fun to watch these guys go out, have some success and win games."

The Rays, winners of eight of 13, swept the sinking Yankees for the first time since July 2014, when they took three in the Bronx. It was the first sweep of the Yankees at Tropicana Field since April 6-8, 2012.

"We played complete baseball," Miller said.

Snell did not extend the Rays' run of quality starts to 11, but he did strike out nine in 51/3 innings.

Miller's home run was the only hit in 12 at-bats from the top of the order. But that was not supposed to be an issue this season, because the lineup was supposed to be thicker from top to bottom. It was Sunday, when No. 9 hitter Luke Maile, who struck out to end the second inning with the bases loaded, redeemed himself in the sixth with a bases-loaded single that drove in the Rays' final two runs.

In the fourth, the Rays failed to get a hit with Souza on second, Dickerson on third and no outs, but they did score both runners on a pair of groundouts. On the second, by Tim Beckham, Souza scored from third base despite the infield playing in.

"He should not have scored on that ball," Cash said, "but he got such a great jump, he basically made it impossible for (third baseman Chase) Headley to throw home."

The nonwaiver trade deadline is 4 p.m. today, and several Rays are rumored to be on the move. Trades would cast somewhat of a pall over the clubhouse.

"We're playing well right now," Miller said. "It's a lot of fun."

They would kind of like the fun to continue.

Rays sweep Yankees for fourth straight win (w/video) 07/31/16 [Last modified: Sunday, July 31, 2016 8:58pm]
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