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Yarbrough gets Rays 1st complete game in 5 years, tops Yanks

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Ryan Yarbrough ended a 24-start winless skid with Tampa Bay’s first complete game in more than five years, Austin Meadows homered off shaky Yankees ace Gerrit Cole and drove in five and the Rays beat New York 9-2 Thursday.

The AL East-leading Rays salvaged a four-game split, improving to 10-3 at Yankee Stadium since the start of last season.

New York fell 4 1/2 games back of Tampa Bay and has dropped seven of 10 entering a weekend series against the rival Red Sox.

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Meadows homered three times in the series, including a go-ahead, two-run drive off Cole in the fourth inning. He added a three-run double off Nick Nelson in the seventh.

Cole (6-3) matched a season worst by allowing five runs in five innings.

Yarbrough (3-3) hadn’t won a start since Aug. 11, 2019, when he threw a career-high 8 2/3 innings in a 1-0 win over Seattle.

The left-hander finished this one himself, throwing a career-most 113 pitches. He escaped a key jam in the fourth and allowed solo homers to Brett Gardner and Miguel Andújar, but otherwise cruised. The 29-year-old allowed two runs and six hits, walked none and struck out six.

Tampa Bay had not thrown a complete game since Matt Andriese’s two-hit shutout of Oakland on May 14, 2016, a major league record streak of 731 games. Toronto now has gone the longest at 231 games.

Yarbrough took advantage of a favorable zone from plate umpire Chad Whitson, stealing several strikes off the outside corner. Yankees manager Aaron Boone was ejected after berating Whitson during a pitching change in the seventh.

Cole entered with an AL-best 1.78 ERA and dominated Tampa Bay in their previous meeting, striking out 12 in eight scoreless innings May 12.

He wasn’t nearly as sharp Thursday. Meadows put the Rays up 2-1 in the fourth, and Tampa Bay made it 5-1 an inning later on Brandon Lowe’s RBI single and Yandy Díaz’s two-run hit.

Cole was replaced in the sixth after 92 pitches. He struck out seven, walked two and allowed five hits. His ERA rose from 1.78 to 2.26.

Meadows has five homers in seven games and 14 for the season. He leads the team with 44 RBIs.

Yarbrough allowed no-out hits to Aaron Judge and Gio Urshela in the fourth but stranded both to preserve a 2-1 lead. Rougned Odor popped out to foul territory, then Yarbrough struck out Clint Frazier and Andújar with the runners at second and third.

Gardner’s homer was his first of the season. Andújar’s shot was his third this year, all in this four-game series.

Yankees slugger Giancarlo Stanton was held out of the lineup for the second time in three days. He’s 1 for 16 with nine strikeouts in five games since returning from a left quadriceps strain.

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DEMORALIZED DJ

The star-studded Yankees’ lineup has been held to five runs or fewer in 11 straight games, and even stoic leadoff hitter DJ LeMahieu has shown frustration this week. He jawed at Whitson after a looking strikeout in the eighth, then began slamming equipment around the dugout for the second time in three games.

The two-time batting champion was 1 for 4 and is hitting .255.

LET IT OUT

Rays manager Kevin Cash said he had no issue with rookie Shane McClanahan’s dugout tirade after the left-handed was pulled in the fourth inning of Wednesday’s 4-3 loss. McClanahan was yelling toward pitching coach Kyle Snyder.

“We can all appreciate the emotions getting intense,” Cash said. “We’re fortunate to have that type of mentality from such a young player.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Rays: 1B Ji-Man Choi was held out of the lineup with a groin injury, the severity of which was still being determined. Choi is 8 for 12 with three homers career against Cole.

Yankees: The results of a second opinion for RHP Corey Kluber’s strained right shoulder were slightly more optimistic than the initial diagnosis. The two-time AL Cy Young Award winner is expected to resume throwing on flat ground in the next few days, although he’s still unlikely to return until at least late July. … LHP Zack Britton (elbow) felt good a day after making a rehab appearance with Double-A Somerset. He’s slated to throw again Saturday.

UP NEXT

Rays: Return to Texas for the first time since playing there in last year’s neutral site World Series. The Rangers will start RHP Kyle Gibson (3-0, 2.24) in the opener Friday night. Tampa Bay hadn’t announced a starter.

Yankees: New York hadn’t determined who will pitch Friday night in the opener of a three-game home series against the rival Red Sox. RHP Nathan Eovaldi (6-2, 4.01) is lined up to pitch for Boston.

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