After losing 8-3 on Wednesday, however, the league’s best paid team will be on the outside looking in when the playoffs begin.
Evan Longoria launched a pair of homers, scored three times and knocked in four runs and the Tampa Bay Rays remained atop the AL wild-card standings with an 8-3 win over the Yankees on Wednesday.
The Yankees were eliminated from playoff contention for the first time since 2008 while they were on the field after the Indians beat the White Sox. It's only the second time in 19 years the Yankees won't be in the postseason.
"It's never easy," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "We worked really hard to get into the postseason and have a chance to win the World Series, and when you're out before the postseason even starts, it's extremely disappointing."
David DeJesus stroked a solo homer among his three hits and finished with two RBI, while James Loney went 3-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored for the Rays, who won their sixth straight to remain one game ahead of Cleveland for the first wild-card spot in the AL.
"I feel like we feel pretty confident as a group," Longoria said. "But at the same time, we can't let that kind of skew our view of how we need to play these four games. Every one of them is going to be just as important as the next."
David Price (9-8) struck out eight without walking a batter and held the Yankees to two runs on six hits over seven strong innings to snap a five-start winless skid.
Eduardo Nunez smacked a solo homer and scored twice for the Yankees.
Phil Hughes (4-14), pressed into duty when CC Sabathia was shut down for the season after injuring his hamstring in his last start, gave up three runs on seven hits in just two-plus innings to fall to 0-7 over his last 13 starts.
The Rays jumped on Hughes in the first, with Wil Myers and Loney lacing back- to-back one-out doubles to give the visitors an early advantage.
New York answered in the home half when Nunez led off with a double and scored two batters later on Robinson Cano's two-bagger to left to make it 1-1.
Loney led off the third with his second double of the night before Longoria followed with a bloop single to right to put runners on the corners for DeJesus, who slapped a base hit to left to plate Loney for a 2-1 lead.
Delmon Young then ripped a sharp grounder down the third-base line that Nunez made a diving stop on, but Longoria slid into third just ahead of Nunez diving for the bag to load the bases with no outs.
Hughes, having thrown 51 pitches, was promptly pulled in favor of David Huff, who served up a sacrifice fly to Matt Joyce before popping out Jose Molina and grounding out Kelly Johnson in succession to end the inning.
Nunez opened the home half with a blast to left to bring New York within a run, but Tampa Bay used back-to-back two-out homers from Longoria and DeJesus in the sixth to create a five-run cushion.
Myers grounded into a fielder's choice with one out and Loney singled before Longoria launched a 1-2 fastball into the seats in left.
DeJesus then crushed Huff's next offering over the wall in right-center field to give the Rays a 7-2 lead.
Lyle Overbay worked a bases-loaded walk in the eighth to bring the Yankees within 7-3, but Longoria led off the ninth with an opposite-field homer into the first row in right to account for the final margin.
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