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Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Rays 7, Yankees 0

By Andrew Marchand

NEW YORK -- The Rays beat the Yankees in every facet of the game as Hiroki Kuroda didn't have enough left in the tank and the Yankees' bats could not find a big hit.

WHAT IT MEANS: The Yanks are on the brink of elimination. They are now six games behind the Rays with five to play, meaning they can only catch the Indians for the wild card. The next Yankees loss will result in elimination as Jason Giambi came up big for Cleveland. If the Indians win another game or the Yankees lose one, it is over. So basically, the Yankees are done, except for the final math.

ELIMINATE THE FIRST: If you could take out the first inning, Kuroda might have won the AL Cy Young this season. On Tuesday, the opening three outs were the toughest for Kuroda to record.

Three pitches into the game, Matt Joyce nailed a solo shot. Seven pitches in, Wil Myers singled and later scored on a David DeJesus double. Eleven pitches in, Evan Longoria hit a sacrifice and the Yankees were down 3-0 before anyone had a bobblehead.

Kuroda has allowed 23 runs in the first inning this season. Only James Shields and Erik Bedard -- both with 24 -- have given up more in the opening inning.

WALK THIS WAY: In the first five innings, Rays starter Matt Moore walked six batters, but the Yankees could not bring any of them around to score. They were 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position in the first five innings.

TWO MORE: In the sixth, the Rays chased Kuroda, putting two runs on the board on James Loney's double. Kuroda's final line was 5 2/3 innings, five runs on five hits, two walks and five strikeouts. Kuroda didn't allow a hit from the second through the fifth inning. It might be the last time he wears pinstripes as an active member of the team. Kuroda, who will be 39 before 2014 Opening Day, could choose to retire, leave as a free agent to another MLB team or finish his career in Japan.

BOONE RETURNS: Boone Logan pitched for the first time since Sept. 6, after suffering a bone spur on his left elbow. Logan retired the one batter he faced.

MO BOBBLEHEADS: There was a bit of a problem with the arrival of the Mariano Rivera bobbleheads.

ON DECK: Ian O'Connor is working on a column on Joe Girardi. I'll have all the news from the clubhouse.