. UP NEXT
What's new: The Yankees are banged up and struggling, having withered away what was a 10-game AL East lead on July 18, going 24-28 since then. Since losing two of three to the Rays last week, they've seen 1B Mark Teixeira sidelined an additional 10 days with a calf issue and SS Derek Jeter was limited to DH on Thursday after injuring his ankle Wednesday. There are also lingering questions about LHP CC Sabathia's health. But the Yankees still lead the majors in homers, have 3B Alex Rodriguez back and have cobbled together a strong bullpen.
Key stat: Before winning Thursday, the Yankees had played 26 times without winning back-to-back games, their longest such streak since a 31-game stretch in 1991.
Connections: Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild was the first Tampa Bay manager; RHP Rafael Soriano is a former Ray, RHP Cory Wade played at Triple-A Durham. Rays RHP Kyle Farnsworth and C Jose Molina wore pinstripes, RHP Dane De La Rosa was a Yankees draft pick.
Series history: Rays lead 9-6 this season, though they are 2-4 at Yankee Stadium. Yankees lead 156-97 overall, 85-39 in New York.
Marc Topkin, Times staff writer