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Martin Prado of the New York Yankees catches a fly ball hit by Chris Davis of the Baltimore Orioles (not pictured) in the fourth inning during a baseball game at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on August 13, 2014 in Baltimore, Maryland.

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Dellin Betances of the New York Yankees throws a pitch in the eighth inning against the Baltimore Orioles during a baseball game at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on August 13, 2014 To in Baltimore, Maryland.

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So, now that it seems clear to me that the Yankees won't win the World Series (I've gotten some sleep, thanks for the advice), do you think they should re-sign Cashman or let him go?

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So, now that it seems clear to me that the Yankees won't win the World Series (I've gotten some sleep, thanks for the advice), do you think they should re-sign Cashman or let him go?

To be honest with you I don't care what they do with him. It's obvious nothing has been working for years now.

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Derek Jeter drives in game-winner as Yankees beat Rays to snap five-game skid

Jeter singled in the go-ahead run in the ninth inning against closer Jake McGee, lifting the Yankees to a much-needed 3-2 victory at Tropicana Field despite continuing their trend of blowing late leads.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Derek Jeter is hoping his career extends into October. Saturday, he took it upon himself to begin what he hopes is a major turnaround for the Yankees.

Jeter singled in the go-ahead run in the ninth inning against closer Jake McGee, lifting the Yankees to a much-needed 3-2 win over the Rays at Tropicana Field to bring their five-game losing streak to an end.

The Yankees' recent trend of blowing late leads continued after the Rays erased a two-run deficit by scoring in the sixth and seventh, both runs charged to starter Shane Greene. The rookie took a no-decision despite six-plus innings of two-run ball, giving up seven hits and one walk while striking out a career-high 10.

The game remained tied into the ninth, but Brett Gardner led off with an infield single, moving to second on Logan Forsythe's errant throw to first.

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Derek Jeter makes sure the Yankees' losing streak stops at five games.

Jeter squared up to bunt Gardner to third, but he was unable to get the sacrifice down on four pitches. With the count 2-2 against McGee, Jeter swung away and pushed a single past Forsythe, scoring Gardner from second base for the go-ahead run.

Dellin Betances (5-0) earned the win with a scoreless eighth. David Robertson closed out the win in the ninth, earning his 32nd save in 34 opportunities.

The Rays had pulled back to .500 with their win over the Yankees Friday night, leaving Tampa Bay only one game behind the third-place Bombers in the American League East.

Given that the Rays had been a whopping 18 games under .500 (24-42) on June 10, their historic climb back to even ground put the pressure on the Yankees to stay ahead of them in the standings.

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Shane Greene settles for the no-decision after giving up two runs over seven innings.

"It's not easy to do," Joe Girardi said before the game. "I've said all along, they're a very talented group, and they have very deep pitching. When you have that, you can make long runs and sustain winning streaks, and that's what they've been able to do.

"I think I was more surprised they were 18 games under. Things can change quickly. That's the great thing about this game."

The Yankees - who had scored seven runs while posting a .174/.222/.261 slash line during the losing streak - opened the game in familiar fashion.

Drew Smyly retired the first five batters before Chase Headley walked and stole second. Prado fell behind 0-2 before drilling a 91 mph sinker into the left-field seats for his second home run as a Yankee.

Prado's shot gave the Yankees a 2-0 lead, and the way the lineup has hit of late, Greene had to assume that was all the run support he was going to receive.

Greene had worked around Desmond Jennings' leadoff double in the first, but he found himself in another jam in the second after being given the lead in the top of the inning. The Rays put runners on at first and second with two out, but Greene fanned Kevin Kiermaier to end the threat.

That got the rookie on a roll as he retired 10 of the next 11 batters to hold the two-run lead through the fifth.

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Martin Prado (r.) puts the Yankees ahead with a two-run home run in the second inning.

Smyly had little trouble keeping the Rays in the game, sitting the Yankees down in order in the third, fourth and sixth.

Tampa Bay finally broke through against Greene in the sixth as Yunel Escobar's two-out single - the Rays' third hit of the inning - scored Matt Joyce to cut the lead in half. Greene retired Vince Belnome to strand two runners, holding on to the one-run advantage.

Greene hit Curt Casali to open the seventh, then gave up an infield hit by Kiermaier, the No. 9 hitter, to move the tying run into scoring position.

Girardi brought in Shawn Kelley, who served up Adam Jones' game-winning homer Wednesday in Baltimore. Desmond Jennings' sac bunt put runners on second and third with one out, but rather than bringing in strikeout artist Betances to try stranding the tying run at third, Girardi stuck with Kelley.

Ben Zobrist hit a grounder to first base, plating pinch-runner Forsythe to tie the game at 2.

The Yankees couldn't get anything else going offensively, leaving Prado's early swing as their only offense against Smyly, who faced the minimum three batters in six of his seven innings.

Brad Boxberger blanked the Yankees in the eighth, getting the final out against pinch-hitter Stephen Drew. Girardi's decision to use the lefthanded Drew was questionable, as Boxberger - a righthander - had held lefties to only one hit in 56 at-bats since May 20.

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Season looks lost, but Yankees need answer to one question

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Masahiro Tanaka (center)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Hope has all but disappeared.

Much like the Yankees’ punchless offense.

There is no pop, no excitement to this team. When Masahiro Tanaka was pitching, at least there was some buzz to the Yankees.

They are lifeless bats on a lifeless team.

Tanaka’s partially torn ligament in his right elbow was really the beginning of the end for the Yankees, who are 16-16 since July 8. We’ll see if Tanaka has any life left in that arm on Saturday afternoon at Tropicana Field.

He will throw off the mound for the first time since going down with the elbow injury in Cleveland nearly six weeks ago.

Why push Tanaka now with the season all but lost? Simple: the Yankees need an answer.

“You have to find out if this is the proper thing to do, and is his arm going to hold up? Because you’d hate to shut him down the whole year and go through it next year, too,’’ Joe Girardi said before the 5-0 loss to the Rays. “Everything has been positive so far, but you don’t really ever know.’’

If Tanaka can’t hold up, it’s Tommy John time and his 2015 season is lost.

If Tanaka comes back this season, it figures to be too late for these Yankees, who dropped to five back in the loss column in the chase for the second AL wild-card after Friday night’s dreadful loss to Alex Cobb and the Rays’ strong bullpen, their fifth straight defeat.

Time is running out and the Yankees know it.

How bad are things?

“The morale is down a little bit, it’s our job to try and keep it up,’’ hitting coach Kevin Long said of his batters, who have managed all of seven runs the last five games.

The Yankees need an emotional lift, and that’s what they are hoping for Saturday when Tanaka will throw off the mound.

Throwing off a mound makes this a much more realistic comeback attempt. Survive that and there is the chance Tanaka returns this season.

“If I can’t throw the way I want to throw from the mound or in the bullpen, then there is no way I will be able to show that in a game, so, yes, [this] is important,’’ Tanaka said through a translator.

Tanaka will take the mound and let loose with 25 pitches. If he comes through the session with no problems, the ace is still in play.

If Tanaka makes it back this year, certainly he is going to have to change his style of pitching to lessen the stress on his elbow. There will be more fastballs, fewer breaking balls, fewer splitters.

At this point, the 61-59 Yankees are so desperate for any positive news, they are hoping Saturday is a good day.

“It’s still too early to tell,’’ Girardi said. “But we are getting through each step. Hopefully Saturday goes well and we can move to the next step.’’

The big step is competition. Until Tanaka unleashes pitches in anger, the Yankees will not be able to tell much.

“You need to see him in competition,’’ Girardi said flatly. “That’s when the intensity gets turned up and it’s not controlled.’’

The Yankees are having such struggles offensively that any team with good pitching pretty much shuts them down.

They are 3-8 against the Rays this season. The Rays have made it back to .500 and at this rate will soon pass the Yankees.

Check out these telling numbers:

Against teams currently in first place, the Yankees are 7-16. They have scored 75 runs and have allowed 114 to those teams. Against the three AL first-place teams, the Yankees are 6-14 and have been crushed in the run differential department, scoring 61 runs while allowing 100.

Essentially, they can’t compete against the good teams because they can’t hit.

We’ll see Saturday if Tanaka has any hope of pitching again this season. Hope is all but lost in so many ways.

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Shane Greene of the New York Yankees pitches during the first inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field on August 16, 2014 in St Petersburg, Florida.

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Shane Greene of the New York Yankees pitches during the first inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field on August 16, 2014 in St Petersburg, Florida.

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Martin Prado of the New York Yankees celebrates with Francisco Cervelli of the New York Yankees after hitting a two run homer in the second inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field on August 16, 2014 in St Petersburg, Florida.

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Francisco Cervelli of the New York Yankees catches a fly ball from Kevin Kiermaier of the Tampa Bay Rays during the fifth inning at Tropicana Field on August 16, 2014 in St Petersburg, Florida.

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Hiroki Kuroda sharp, Brett Gardner delivers key hit as Yankees take series from Rays with 4-2 win

The Bombers still trail the Orioles by 7 games but are now just 3.5 games back of the Mariners for the second wild card spot.

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Yankees leading hitter Brett Gardner lashes a two-run single in Sunday's win.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Perhaps the Yankees should consider giving Hiroki Kuroda extra rest between every start.

Kuroda, whose tired arm melted down last August, pitched the Yankees to a big series win over the Rays on Sunday, leading them to a 4-2 victory at Tropicana Field.

The righthander allowed two runs over 6.2 innings, giving up only four hits and a walk, striking out one.

“The two extra days, I was able to physically get refreshed, as well as mentally,” Kuroda said through a translator.

Pitching coach Larry Rothschild agreed, noting the sharpness of Kuroda’s stuff and impeccable command against a Rays team that had given him plenty of trouble during his career.

“Any time we can get him rest, we do,” Rothschild said of Kuroda, who had been 1-2 with a 6.94 ERA in four starts at the Trop. “He responded well today. The crispness to the split and slider, and even the movement on the fastball; it’s basically everything.”

Kuroda appeared destined to become the Yankees’ latest hard-luck loser, but the offense — which had been held without a hit over the first 4.2 innings — broke out for three runs in the fifth with a two-out rally against Jeremy Hellickson.

Brett Gardner had the biggest hit, a two-run single that put the Yankees ahead. Jacoby Ellsbury added an RBI in the inning, then Mark Teixeira homered in the eighth for the team’s last run.

“To be able to put those together when it looks like you have nothing going and he’s rolling along with a no-hitter, it’s big,” Joe Girardi said.

Shawn Kelley recorded a key out in the seventh and Dellin Betances pitched a scoreless eighth. David Robertson closed it out in the ninth for his 33rd save, giving him 21 consecutive successful save opportunities, the longest active streak in the majors.

The Yankees remain seven games behind the Orioles in the AL East, though they picked up a half-game in the wild card race, leaving them 3.5 games behind the Mariners. The Yankees also moved past the Blue Jays into second place in the division. Even more encouraging, their next six games are against the Astros and White Sox in the Bronx.

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Derek Jeter and the Yankees get their week off to a much-needed good start.

After dropping the first three games of the road trip in Baltimore and Tampa Bay, the Yankees bounced back with two wins, sending them into Monday’s off-day with some much-needed momentum.

“We didn’t do what we wanted to do in Baltimore and obviously losing Friday night here, but the last two days have gone pretty good,” Gardner said. “We continued to pitch great and hopefully this week our offense can pick up the slack and give our pitchers a little breathing room.”

The Rays jumped out to a quick lead in the first, using back-to-back singles by Ben Zobrist and Matt Joyce to set up Evan Longoria’s RBI groundout.

Kuroda went on to retire 17 straight batters after the two first-inning hits, giving the struggling offense ample opportunity to come through with some run support.

Hellickson didn’t allow a hit through the first four innings, the Yankees’ only baserunners coming courtesy of a Longoria throwing error in the first and a leadoff walk of Carlos Beltran in the second.

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Hiroki Kuroda twirls a gem against the Rays.

Hellickson recorded two quick outs to start the fifth, keeping his no-hit bid alive. Stephen Drew walked, then Martin Prado picked up the Yankees’ first hit, a double to left field that put runners at second and third.

Gardner followed with the second hit, a single to center that scored both runners to give the Yankees a 2-1 lead.

Ellsbury added another single, scoring Gardner to push the lead to two. Ellsbury’s hit was his first of the road trip, snapping an 0-for-17 skid.

Kuroda allowed a run in the seventh to pull the Rays within one, but Kelley struck out pinch-hitter Brandon Guyer with runners at the corners to preserve the lead.

“That’s a huge out,” Girardi said.

Teixeira boosted the lead back to two with a solo home run off Joel Peralta in the eighth. Betances and Robertson did the rest, salvaging the final game of the 2-3 road trip.

“It’s not what we wanted, but it’s better than it looked as of Friday night at 10:30, that’s for sure, being 0-3,” Girardi said. “We were able to win (the series), so hopefully this carries over and we can go on another good roll when we go back home.”

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Mark Teixeira of the New York Yankees swings at the ball during the first inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field on August 17, 2014 in St Petersburg, Florida.

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Hiroki Kuroda of the New York Yankees pitches during the first inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field on August 17, 2014 in St Petersburg, Florida.

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Martin Prado of the New York Yankees throws Evan Longoria of the Tampa Bay Rays out at first base during the first inning at Tropicana Field on August 17, 2014 in St Petersburg, Florida.

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Brett Gardner of the New York Yankees bats in the third inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field on August 17, 2014 in St Petersburg, Florida.

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Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees celebrates with teammates after Martin Prado and Stephen Drew scored in the fifth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field on August 17, 2014 in St Petersburg, Florida.

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Mark Teixeira of the New York Yankees rounds second base after hitting a home run in the eighth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field on August 17, 2014 in St Petersburg, Florida.

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Is it me, or does anybody else find it weird that a team's DH bats 9th? And is it weirder if said DH is a AAA callup?

The Yankees do the strangest things, like take two out of 3 in Tampa, and then losing two of 3 at home vs Houston :facepalm:

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Brandon McCarthy shuts out Astros in shortest game at new Yankee Stadium

The righthander needed only 107 pitches and allowed just four hits while striking out eight for the win. He's 5-2 with a 1.90 ERA since coming to the Yankees on July 6.

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Brandon McCarthy needs just 107 pitches to get through the Astros Thursday afternoon.

Brandon McCarthy wasn't going to let the bullpen spoil his day.

The righthander twirled a complete game shutout, leading the Yankees to a 3-0 win over the Astros Thursday at the Stadium to salvage the final game of the series, avoiding a humiliating sweep.

McCarthy held Houston to four hits over nine innings, striking out eight without issuing a walk. He needed only 2:07 and 107 pitches to complete his masterpiece.

Since being traded to the Yankees on July 6, McCarthy is 5-2 with a 1.90 ERA.

Chase Headley, another trade deadline acquisition, provided the big hit on Thursday, his two-run double off lefty Dallas Keuchel sparking a three-run second inning.

Keuchel went the distance for the Astros in the loss, giving up three runs on seven hits over eight innings. Keuchel struck out five and didn't walk a batter.

The win snapped the Yankees' two-game losing streak. It was their third win the last 10 games.

The Yankees looked like an actual major-league offense early on, going on the attack against starter Dallas Keuchel in the second inning.

Mark Teixeira opened the inning with a single, moving to third on Martin Prado's double. The Yankees, who were 2-for-17 (.118) with runners in scoring position during the first two games of the series and 8-for-59 (.136) in those situations over the past nine games, took the lead on Headley's double to right field, cashing in immediately on their first scoring opportunity to take a 2-0 lead.

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Chase Headley gives Brandon McCarthy all the run support he needs with a two-run knock in the second inning.

Ichiro Suzuki added a sacrifice fly later in the inning, pushing the lead to three runs.

"You keep running guys out there and believe it's going to change," Girardi said before the game when asked about his struggling offense. "Eventually it's going to be right and it's going to be consistent over a long period."

Headley's double turned out to be the Yankees' lone hit with runners in scoring position as the team went 1-for-5.

McCarthy entered the game with a 4-2 record and 2.30 ERA in his first seven starts with the Yankees, looking to continue his renaissance in the Bronx.

The righthander retired the first nine batters before Robbie Grossman opened the fourth with a single. Dexter Fowler hit a two-out double to put runners at second and third, but McCarthy retired Marc Krauss to end the threat.

That started another streak of seven straight outs by McCarthy, who worked out of another second-and-third, one-out jam in the seventh to preserve the shutout.

McCarthy finished his gem with two perfect innings, retiring the final eight batters of the game.

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Chase Headley of the New York Yankees scores a second inning run past Carlos Corporan of the Houston Astros after a sacrifice fly from teammate Ichiro Suzuki (not pictured) at Yankee Stadium on August 21, 2014 in the Bronx borough of New York City.

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Brandon McCarthy of the New York Yankees throws to first base for the final out of the fourth inning against the Houston Astros at Yankee Stadium on August 21, 2014 in the Bronx borough of New York City.

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Brandon McCarthy of the New York Yankees pitches in the seventh inning against the Houston Astros at Yankee Stadium on August 21, 2014 in the Bronx borough of New York City.

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Ichiro Suzuki of the New York Yankees flies out in the seventh inning against the Houston Astros at Yankee Stadium on August 21, 2014 in the Bronx borough of New York City.

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Martin Prado hits walk-off single in ninth to lift Yankees past White Sox

Prado also smacked a two-run home run to left in the third, scoring Ellsbury for his third home run as a Yankee.

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Martin Prado is the hero for the Yankees Friday night, driving in three runs, including the walk-off single and a two-run homer.

Martin Prado is earning his pinstripes.

The deadline acquisition from Arizona homered in the third and hit a walk-off single up the middle off Daniel Webb to lift the Yankees to a 4-3 win Friday night in the Bronx.

With the score tied 3-3, Ichiro led off the ninth with a single and was sacrificed to second by Brett Gardner. Derek Jeter lined out to center before Jacoby Ellsbury was intentionally walked. Mark Teixeira then walked to load the bases for Prado, who battled back from 0-2 to force a full count and then rip the winning hit. It was Prado’s fifth career walk-off hit and the Yanks’ fourth of the season.

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Francisco Cervelli tags out Conor Gillaspie after Brett Gardner guns him down at home plate from left field.

“I can describe that as one of the biggest moments of my career,” said Prado, who finished 2-for-5 with three RBI. “Not personal-wise, I’m talking just getting a win for the Yankees, it means a lot for anyone.”

Prado fouled off the first three pitches he saw from the hard-throwing Webb. He then took three pitches out of the zone before sending his teammates and the crowd into a frenzy.

“After you get two strikes, you take a look to the dugout and you see all your teammates are supporting you and cheering for you, and you see all the people standing up, it gives you a little extra,” Prado said.

Prado, who has played second base his last six games but has also played in right and at third, smacked a two-run home run to left in the third, driving in Ellsbury with his third blast for the Yankees (65-61), which at the time cut Chicago’s lead to 3-2 after Shane Greene gave up a three-run homer to Jose Abreu, his 33rd longball, in the first in the Cuban rookie sensation’s first career at-bat at Yankee Stadium. Prado is 6-for-16 so far on the home stand. “He’s done a really good job (at second,)” Joe Girardi said. “This is a guy who’s played all over the place, and wherever he’s played, he’s played well.”

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No he's not getting the Ice Bucket Challenge, but Prado still gets a Gatorade bath for his walk-off RBI single in the ninth.

Greene settled in after a rough first and gave the Yankees a chance to get back into the game. He tossed five-plus innings, allowing nine hits and two walks while striking out seven. Ellsbury (2-for-4) ripped an RBI double to right in the fifth to tie the game at 3-3 and create second-and-third with no outs, but John Danks retired the next three Yankees. Danks allowed three runs on six hits and three walks in five-plus innings.

The White Sox (59-69) had a chance to take the lead in the sixth, but after Alejandro De Aza singled to left, Gardner easily threw out Conor Gillaspie at home to end the inning after a questionable decision by Chicago third base coach and former Met Joe McEwing to send Gillaspie home.

Shawn Kelley, Dellin Betances and David Robertson pitched four innings of scoreless relief, allowing just two total hits while striking out six. The start of this six-game home stand began terribly for the Yankees with two losses to lowly Houston, but they’re hoping wins such as Friday’s can spur them on a run. “Biggest win of the year, for sure,” Gardner said.

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