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Tampa Bay at New York

Venue: Yankee Stadium
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The Tampa Bay Rays' rotation is the primary reason they've surged to the top of the AL East.

The New York Yankees are hoping Alfonso Soriano can provide a spark with Derek Jeter sidelined at least one more game.

Rookie Chris Archer will try to keep the Rays rolling by winning a fifth straight decision against the foundering Yankees on Saturday.

Tampa Bay (61-42) has gotten a 2.13 ERA from the rotation, which has held opponents to .208 at the plate during a staggering 20-3 stretch that has vaulted the team atop the division.

The Rays are one-half game ahead of Boston after trailing by as many as seven on June 28.

Jeremy Hellickson turned in the latest strong performance Friday, yielding one run and four hits in six innings of a 10-6 win over the Yankees (54-49).

Archer (5-3, 2.76 ERA) has been a vital contributor to Tampa Bay's surge, going 4-0 with a 1.62 ERA over his last six starts and winning the last three behind a 0.41 ERA. The rookie right-hander began his four-game winning streak with a 3-1 victory at Yankee Stadium on June 23, yielding one run in six innings in his only career meeting with New York.

He was impressive Sunday, allowing one run in seven innings of a 4-3 win at Toronto.

"I've realized where my potential is and I'm striving for that every time out," Archer said.

While the Rays are the hottest team in baseball, the Yankees are scuffling through a 3-7 stretch.

New York is hitting .226 with no homers and 14 runs while dropping three of five. The team showed some signs of breaking out Friday with 11 hits but was unable to overcome a 10-1 deficit the final two innings.

The Yankees are hoping Soriano can begin making a difference. They acquired him from the Chicago Cubs on Friday, and he went 0 for 5 with one run and one RBI while batting cleanup.

"He's not the same player he used to be," general manager Brian Cashman said, "but he certainly provides some thunder from the right side that we've been lacking."

Pressure seems to be building on Cashman to find personnel to help the Yankees cut into their seven-game deficit to the Rays.

"We've obviously been trying to improve our offense, to no avail, throughout this season," Cashman said. "By far, (Soriano) is the best available bat to date."

New York could get a significant lift when Derek Jeter (right quadriceps) comes off the disabled list. He is eligible to be activated Saturday, but a decision won't be made until after he plays a simulated game that day.

The Yankees send Ivan Nova (4-3, 3.66) to the mound, and he's compiled a 2.55 ERA in seven games - four starts - since sitting out nearly a month with right triceps inflammation. Despite pitching better, he has just a 3-2 record to show for it since he's been backed by one total run in those defeats.

Nova didn't get any help Monday, when he allowed three runs in seven innings of a 3-0 loss at Texas.

His previous loss came to Archer, yielding three runs in 6 2-3 innings as his four-game home winning streak against the Rays ended.

Nova is 6-2 with a 2.27 ERA over his last eight overall games versus Tampa Bay.

Rays rookie Wil Myers has seven straight multihit games, going 15 for 30 with seven RBIs and six runs. The right fielder is 8 for 23 (.348) with five RBIs in five meetings with New York.

Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Probable Starters

Chris Archer, RHP
2013 stats
58.2 Innings Pitched 59.0
5-3 Wins-Losses 4-3
2.76 Earned Run Average 3.66
25 Walks 19
41 Strikeouts 58
97 Pitches Per Start 96
Career vs. opponent
6.0 Innings Pitched 58.0
1-0 Wins-Losses 6-2
1.50 Earned Run Average 3.10

Ivan Nova, RHP
Weather
weather image  Showers late. Partly sunny. Warm.
Hi TempLo TempWindHumidityPrecip %
82°F68°F10mph/S53%41%
Standings
TeamStandingsWLPct.GBL 10Strk
Tampa Bay4th AL East6265.488125-5 W 1
NY Yankees2nd AL East6461.51293-7 W 1
BATTER VS. PITCHER (Career)
vs Ivan Nova
PlayerABHHRBBSOAVG
Loney42001.500
Rodriguez125102.417
Jennings155013.333
Myers31002.333
Longoria184122.222
 
BATTER VS. PITCHER (Career)
vs Chris Archer
PlayerABHHRBBSOAVG
Gardner32001.667
Hafner31000.333
Suzuki31001.333
Claiborne000000
Hughes000000
 

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Injuries
Tampa Bay
PlayerInjury
T. BeckhamKnee
D. DeJesusHand
R. HaniganOblique
M. MooreElbow
J. PeraltaIllness
J. SandsWrist
NY Yankees
PlayerInjury
C. BeltranElbow
I. NovaElbow
D. PhelpsElbow
A. RodriguezSuspension
C. SabathiaKnee
M. TanakaElbow
 
Series Game Log
DateatResult/TimeWinnerLoser
May 22CHWCHW 3-2Sale Phelps 
May 23CHWCHW 6-5Webb Robertson 
May 24CHWNYY 4-3Betances Putnam 
May 25CHWNYY 7-1Tanaka Rienzo 
Aug 22NYY 7:05 PM EDT  
Aug 23NYY 1:05 PM EDT  
Aug 24NYY 1:05 PM EDT