Originally posted on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 7/29/13
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Photo by: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images The return of Alfonso Soriano on Friday and Derek Jeter on Sunday failed to help the team win the series but the team took a giant step in improving their roster. The Yankees lost a series to the Tampa Bay Rays 2-1 this past weekend but one by one, the Yankees roster is starting look like how it was originally meant to be. The Ray’s won this series simply because they’re on fire at the plate and their consistent pitching has lead them in a battle for first place with the Red Sox. The Rays have won 21 out of their last 25 games, their offense this series was lead by Evan Longoria who extended his hitting streak to 10 games on Sunday and Wil Myers, who extended his hitting streak to 9 and is batting 23 for 49 (.469) in his last 12 games. The Rays starting pitching kept the Yankees’ bats quiet for the first two games as Jeremy Hellickson continues his dominance and only gave up one hit in six innings before the bullpen almost let the game go. Chris Archer (6-3) threw a two hit complete game, shutting out the Yankees with six strikeouts and keeping his pitch count below 100 (97). Ivan Nova (4-4) looked good starting Saturday for the Yankees only allowing one run in the sixth inning after Kelly Johnson’s RBI single. Nova pitched 7 innings with 8 strikeouts keeping the Yanks in the game but their offense let them down. C.C. Sabathia isn’t the type of player to look at tape but he may want to start as he has given up 17 earned runs in the past 3 games. C.C. breezed through the first inning but took a beating as the Rays put up 6 in the 2nd and took the rode that momentum for the rest of the game. Although, combined withtheir rallies in the 8th and 9th on Saturday and Jeter’s return, the Yankees bats woke up on Sunday. Derek Jeter continued his story book career hitting a home run to right field (of course) on the first pitch he faced to spark the Yankees offense. Soriano is officially back as a New York Yankee, hitting a two run home run in the 3rd and driving home Jeter. Jeter has reached based for 38 straight games dating back to last season.  The drama didn’t end there as Soriano emerged as the hero with a walk off single to drive home Brett Gardner, who lead off the inning with a walk. The Yankees are currently 7.5 games back behind the A.L. East leading Red Sox, who are playing a big series against the Rays who only trail the Sox by a half game. The Yankees head out west to face Donnie Baseball’s red hot Dodgers ( to jump ahead in the wild card standings as they are behind 2.5 games. This is a big road trip for the Yankees, they can’t let down heading into August with plenty of teams playing great baseball. 

This article first appeared on isportsweb.com and was syndicated with permission.

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