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Clarke Schmidt shuts down Rays, Anthony Rizzo drives in both runs in Yankees’ 2-0 win

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Clarke Schmidt allowed five hits in 6 2/3 innings, Anthony Rizzo homered and drove in two runs, and the New York Yankees beat the Tampa Bay Rays 2-0 on Friday night.

Schmidt (4-1) struck out six and walked two as he extended his season-opening run of allowing three or fewer runs to eight starts.

“He had a little bit of everything going,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “Really sharp performance.”

Schmidt matched the longest outing of his career by getting the first two outs of the seventh.

“I know what I’m capable of doing,” Schmidt said. “I know I’m very well capable of controlling my pitch count and going deeper in games. This is a big step in the right direction.”

Yankees closer Clay Holmes had a stressful ninth inning. He walked two batters with one out and struck out Isaac Paredes looking before pinch-hitter Austin Shenton singled to load the bases. Holmes then struck out Jonny DeLuca to secure his 12th save in 13 chances and complete a six-hitter.

Rizzo had a fourth-inning RBI single and connected on a first-pitch homer against Shawn Armstrong leading off the ninth to help the Yankees win for the sixth time in seven games.

Rays starter Taj Bradley (0-1) gave up one run, four hits and struck out seven over six innings in his season debut. The right-hander had been on the 15-day injured list with a right pectoral strain.

Bradley reached 99.2 mph.

“Couldn’t be more pleased with the way Taj threw the ball,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said.

Boone was impressed, too.

“Ninety-eight. Cutter. Split. Flashes good curveball,” Boone said. “He’s aggressive. He’s got a great arm. He’s got really good stuff.”

Tampa Bay dropped to 19-20.

Giancarlo Stanton got the Yankees’ first hit off Bradley, an 116.4 mph single to left with two outs in the fourth that advanced Aaron Judge from first to third. Rizzo’s single made it 1-0.

Judge walked twice, giving him 30 this season. He hit a 108.1 mph, 407-foot six-inning flyball caught at the center-field wall.

Tampa Bay had two runners caught stealing and another picked off first.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Yankees: Boone said ace Gerrit Cole (right elbow inflammation) and INF DJ LeMahieu (bruised right foot) will remain at the team’s nearby Tampa complex after the Rays series. Cole will throw off a mound, while LeMahieu ramps up toward live batting practice. … OF Jasson Domínguez (Tommy John surgery) is set to intensify his defensive work as he nears a rehab assignment.

Rays: RHP Ryan Pepiot, hit in the lower left leg by a 107.5 mph liner off the bat of the New York Mets’ Starling Marte last Sunday, said he could try to get on a mound Sunday or Monday. … Closer Pete Fairbanks (nerve-related hand issues) is expected to return this weekend. … RHP Shane Baz (Tommy John surgery) allowed three runs, one hit and five walks over 1 2/3 innings in his second start with Triple-A Durham.

UP NEXT

Yankees LHP Nestor Cortes (1-3, 3.72 ERA) and Rays RHP Zack Littell (1-2, 3.00 ERA) are Saturday’s starters. The pair were minor league teammates in the Yankees organization in 2017.

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AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB

By MARK DIDTLER
Associated Press

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