A day that began with their starting pitcher being traded 90 minutes before game time and saw veteran reliever Sergio Romo play third base for a batter ended well for the Rays with a 3-2 win over the Yankees.
Ryne Stanek stepped in for Boston-bound Nathan Eovaldi to lead the parade of six Rays pitchers, who combined to limit the potent Yankees to seven hits and the two runs before a loud crowd of 27,372.
And they made it interesting as manager Kevin Cash got creative to start the ninth. He had Romo, who finished the eighth, shift to play third base for a batter so they could get LHP Jonny Venters to come in to face lefty Greg Bird, and get a ground out, and then put Romo back on the mound.
A infield single and an error by Matt Duffy missing a throw at second put the Yankees in position to threaten but Romo got Austin Romine to pop out (on a smooth catch by Jake Bauers) and Brett Gardner to strike out.
The Yankees took an early lead in the second, when Gleyber Torres, just off the DL, drew a leadoff walk from Jaime Schultz, went to second a shift-beating bunt by Greg Bird, third on a fly out and scored on a Neil Walker sac fly.
The Rays broke through for three runs in the sixth, and loudly.
After Adam Moore led off with a single against Luis Cessa, Kevin Kiermaier pushed his ongoing struggles aside for a moment and laced a two-run homer to right. Two outs and a change to reliever Jonathan Holder later, C.J. Cron launched his career-high extending 20th homer to make it 3-1.
The Yankees got one back in the eighth, taking advantage of another leadoff walk, this one by Jose Alvarado to Brett Gardner. A Didi Gregorius single just past diving first baseman Jake Bauers sent Gardner to third, and he scored on a sac fly by Giancarlo Stanton.
The Rays left after the game for Baltimore, where they open a four-game series with the Orioles on Thursday, starting with a date with ex-mate Alex Cobb.