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Rapid Reaction: Rays 1, Yankees 0

NEW YORK -- Ivan Nova was good, but Chris Archer was even better, and the Tampa Bay Rays took another game from the New York Yankees in the Bronx on Saturday.

What it means: Tampa Bay, clearly the hottest team in baseball, continues its incredible run. The Rays have won 21 of their past 24, are 20 games over .500 (62-42) and lead the American League East by a full game over the Red Sox.

The Yankees, on the other hand, are digging themselves a huge hole. They're 3-6 since the All-Star break, have lost eight of 11 overall, are just four games over .500 (54-50) and remain in fourth place, now eight games behind Tampa Bay.

Early zeroes: This game was scoreless through five innings. Nova had multiple runners on base in the first and fourth innings but worked out of trouble each time. After Wil Myers and James Loney led off the top of the fourth with a double and a walk, Nova struck out the side.

Archer did not allow a hit until Lyle Overbay's one-out single in the bottom of the fifth. And the Yankees did nothing with that.

The breakthrough: Tampa Bay finally scored in the top of the sixth. Loney hit a one-out bloop single to center and was erased on a fielder's choice. Matt Joyce walked, giving the Rays runners on first and second with two outs. Kelly Johnson had the big hit, a two-out RBI single.

That was all the damage Nova allowed. He went seven innings, giving up one run on six hits with eight strikeouts and three walks. Yet Nova was still saddled with a loss, dropping him to 4-4 on the year. His ERA, on the other hand, improved to 3.41.

David Robertson and Shawn Kelley each pitched a scoreless inning in relief.

Offensively challenged: The Yankees' lineup continues to come up small. They mustered just two hits on the day -- the other being Brett Gardner's two-out double in the bottom of the sixth.

Archer went the distance -- a complete-game two-hit shutout at Yankee Stadium with six strikeouts and zero walks. And he needed only 97 pitches to do so.

Alfonso Soriano, acquired from the Cubs to provide some extra pop at the plate, is now 0-for-8 in two games. He went 0-for-3 on Saturday, with two fly outs and a groundout.

What's next: The series finale and the final game of this brief three-game homestand. Phil Hughes (4-9, 4.33 ERA) will start for the Yankees, opposed by lefty Matt Moore (14-3, 3.17), with first pitch scheduled for 1:05 p.m. The Rays will be going for the sweep.