The Rays needed a spectacular start from Blake Snell to try and salvage the finale of their series in the Bronx, but got the polar opposite from the Cy Young Award winner.
Snell got just one out Wednesday, allowing six runs as the New York Yankees clobbered the Rays 12-1 to finish off the sweep at Yankee Stadium.
The signs that Snell was having command issues were evident early, as New York jumped out to a 3-0 lead just three batters in to the game. DJ LeMahieu reached on an infield single, stole second base, and after Luke Voit worked a walk after falling behind Snell 0-2, Gary Sanchez blasted a three-run shot, his 21st of the year and fourth of his career against Snell.
Snell would walk the bases loaded, giving up free passes to Edwin Encarnacion, and after a fielder's choice, Gleyber Torress and Cameron Maybin before Kevin Cash took the baseball from the left-hander after just 39 pitches. Colin Poche hit Gio Urshela with a pitch to force in Hicks to make it 4-0, and LeMahieu, hitting for the second time in the inning, drove in Torres and Maybin with a base hit.
The bullpen would then retired 17 in a row, as Poche worked a scoreless second, and Emilio Pagan, Ryne Stanek, Diego Castillo and Adam Kolarek each worked perfect innings.
Tampa Bay's only run came in the fifth, as CC Sabathia allowed one-out walks to Ji-Man Choi and Daniel Robertson, and Tommy Pham's bloop double allowed Choi to cut the deficit back to a handful.
New York's offense got back going in the seventh, as Cash asked Kolarek to work a second inning of relief. One-out walks to LeMahieu and Voit were followed by a double by Sanchez that made it 7-1. Cash went to Oliver Drake to try and stem the tide, but the right-hander allowed a base hit to Encarnacion that scored Voit for an 8-1 lead, and after walking Hicks to load the bases, Torres finished the scoring with a grand slam.
The loss drops Tampa Bay to a season-most 3.5 games behind the Yankees for the American League East lead.
Tampa Bay Rays (43-31) at Oakland Athletics, 10:07 PM first pitch, with coverage on WDAE beginning at 9:00 with The Inside Pitch.
Rays starter: RHP Charlie Morton (8-1, 2.37 ERA)
Athletics starter: RHP Frankie Montas (9-2, 2.85 ERA)