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Hellickson, Rays give up 4 runs, lose to Yankees

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Sunday’s 4-2 loss to the New York Yankees marked the first time in two weeks the Tampa Bay Rays gave up more than three runs in a game.

They went only 7-5 in that stretch, and the Rays’ lack of hitting again caught up to them.

“You’d like to go a little better than that when you have that kind of pitching run going on,” manager Joe Maddon said. “That’s like mid-’60s baseball. We’d like to take a little more advantage than 7-5.”

Jeremy Hellickson didn’t allow a hit until the fifth inning, then the Yankees broke through with four straight hits and three runs.

Mark Teixeira’s 20th homer off reliever Joel Peralta in the eighth accounted for the Yankees’ other run – and ended the Rays’ streak of allowing three or fewer runs.

“When you don’t score any runs, then you’re going to dwell on this stuff even more,” Maddon said. “We’ve been pitching great. It’s hard to pitch as well as we’ve been pitching, so I can’t sit here and bemoan one or two bad pitches.”

Hiroki Kuroda pitched neatly into the seventh inning for the Yankees, retiring 17 straight batters after allowing consecutive one-out singles to Ben Zobrist and Matt Joyce in the first.

Kuroda (8-8) gave up two runs and four hits in 6 2-3 innings. After Shawn Kelley and Dellin Betances combined for 1 1-3 scoreless innings, David Robertson closed for his 33rd save.

Hellickson (1-2) had his no-hit bid intact even after walking Stephen Drew with two out in the fifth, but that’s where the game turned against him.

Martin Prado doubled and Brett Gardner followed with a two-run single. Jacoby Ellsbury, hitless in his previous 17 at-bats during a five-game road trip, made it 3-1 with an RBI single on New York’s fourth straight hit.

“Everything looked pretty good up until Drew,” Hellickson said. “I made some pitches after the walk. Really the only hit I didn’t think was on a good pitch was to Ellsbury. … But none of that even happens if I don’t walk (Drew).”

Hellickson made his sixth start after right elbow surgery in January. He left after the fifth.

Teixeira reached 20 homers for the 11th time in his career with his 361st career homer, tying Joe DiMaggio for 80th place on the all-time list.

Evan Longoria had two RBIs for the Rays. He hit a run-scoring grounder in the first and drove in Joyce with a seventh-inning single that pulled Tampa Bay within 3-2.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Yankees: Derek Jeter was the DH for the second straight game and sixth time this season. Jeter fouled a ball off his lower left leg Saturday, but manager Joe Girardi said giving Jeter a break from the turf at Tropicana Field was behind the decision.

Rays: OF Wil Myers (fractured right wrist) is “getting pretty close,” according to Maddon, and might be activated Tuesday. … Rehabbing OF David DeJesus will take Monday off after experiencing soreness in his injured left hand.

ON DECK

Yankees: LHP Chris Capuano (1-3) is scheduled to start against Houston LHP Brett Oberholtzer (4-8) Tuesday night.

Rays: Tampa Bay and Detroit begin a three-game series Tuesday night at Tropicana Field. Former Rays ace David Price is scheduled to face Tampa Bay for the first time Thursday.

NEW STREAK

The Rays have now yielded four runs or fewer in 13 straight games, tied with San Diego for the second-longest string in the majors this year.