Lowe helps Blue Jays, win 3 HR in Rays’ win over Yankees

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Lowe helps Blue Jays, win 3 HR in Rays’ win over Yankees

NEW YORK (Neth.) – Brandon Lowe hit three homeruns and the Tampa Bay Rays rolled to a 12-2 blowout from the Yankees on Saturday, which prevented New York from securing a playoff spot.

With a chance to pitch his team into the postseason, Yankees starter Jordan Montgomery was instead rocked to a career-worst seven earned runs in 2 2/3 innings. He gave up a pair of three-run homeruns to Lowe, who also went deep in the seventh against Michael King.

Even with the embarrassing defeat in front of a cheering home crowd of 41,648, the striped Yankees can still knock their AL wildcard ticket Sunday with a win in the scheduled regular season finale against Tampa Bay.

“We have to win. It’s that simple,” said veteran outfielder Brett Gardner. “Here we go into Game 162 not knowing what the future holds.

“It’s not ideal. But it’s nice to know we still have a chance,” he added. “As the season has gone, it makes sense that it would come to the very last day. It seems to be right.”

New York is assured of at least one tie-break game on Monday that could place the team in the playoffs for the fifth consecutive season. But after dropping the first two games of this series, the Yankees are no longer in control of their own destiny to host the wildcard game. Now they need a Boston loss for that.

New York started the day with a one game lead over the Red Sox for the highest AL wildcard. Boston played in Washington.

“It’s just a bad day for us and we need to get over it quickly,” said Yankees manager Aaron Boone.

Lowe batted in the eighth with a chance to equal the Major League-record four home runs in a game. He dodged a 93 mph fastball from Joely Rodriguez that was way inside, then grounded out to first base.

Lowe and Mike Zunino homered back-to-back off Montgomery (6-7) in the third to make it 7-1. Austin Meadows added a three-run shot in the seventh as AL East champion Rays (100-61) took 100 wins for the first time in team history.

Tampa Bay, which has already secured home field advantage during the American League playoffs, had never been 39 games over .500 before.

Zunino, Randy Arozarena and Wander Franco each had three hits for the Rays, who outhit New York 19-4. Arozarena reached base five times.

Luis Patino (5-3) worked two hitless innings for the win.

Montgomery’s shortest outing this season marked an early end to a strong stretch.

The southpaw had not allowed more than one run in three consecutive starts and nine of his past 11, going 3-1 in that span with a 2.26 ERA. He was 1-0 with a 1.65 ERA and 22 strikeouts over 16 1/3 innings in his last three appearances and had allowed three earned runs or less in 15 of his last 16 starts since June 20.

“Nobody’s perfect. They’re going to happen,” he said. “Next time it just has to be better.”

Lowe has gone deep in his past three games and his career-high seven RBIs gave him 99 this season. He lifted his career-best total to a team-leading 39 home runs with his first three homegame in the majors. It was his sixth multihome game in his career and fourth this year.

Anthony Rizzo homered for the Yankees and Gio Urshela had an RBI triple.

TRAINERS ROOM

Rays: With manager Kevin Cash looking for rest for 1B Ji-Man Choi and INF Joey Wendle, catcher Francisco Mejia made his first career start at first base.

Yankees: 3B DJ LeMahieu missed his second straight game with a sports hernia requiring off-season surgery, but the two-time batting champion will try to make it through the injury in October. He was given a cortisone shot on Friday and the team hopes he can return to the lineup on Sunday… 1B Luke Voit will likely be sidelined for at least a few weeks with left knee inflammation. Voit, who was placed on the 10-day injured list Thursday, could potentially return later in October if the Yankees advance deep enough into the postseason, Boone said.

ROSTER MOVES

Rays: RHP recalled Chris Mazza from triple-A Durham and chose RHP Louis Head, who remained in the taxi squad with the big league team.

Yankees: Infielder Andrew Velazquez recalled from triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and optional reliever Albert Abreu to their top club. Velazquez started at short stop and Urshela moved back to third base, his natural position.

NEXT ONE

Jameson Taillon (8-6, 4.40 ERA) will start for the Yankees on Sunday. He has been struggling with a right ankle tendon injury lately, but tested it in a successful bullpen on Friday. RHP Michael Wacha (3-5, 5.26) goes for Tampa Bay.

Umpire Chris Guccione leaves with pounding heart, slowing the Blue Jays-Orioles game

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