NEW YORK ( Associated Press) — Gerrit Cole vindicated himself after suffering the worst beating of his career by going six innings brilliantly, and the New York Yankees took advantage of shaky defensive work to beat the Rays 2-0 on Tuesday night. Tampa Bay.
The Yankees, leaders of the East Division of the American League, spun their fifth win by playing their first of six games in nine days against Tampa Bay, which ranks third.
New York entered the day nine games ahead of the two-time defending division champion Rays and eight games ahead of the Blue Jays, who host the Yankees in three games over the weekend.
The Yankees had just five hits but improved to a 45-16 record, the best record in baseball through 61 games since 2001, when Seattle got it.
New York was without third baseman Josh Donaldson, who served a one-game suspension imposed by Major League Baseball for comments about Jackie Robinson he made to White Sox star Tim Anderson.
The punishment was upheld after an appeal.
Cole (6-1) allowed five home runs against Minnesota in his previous outing. This time, the right-hander struck out seven, walked one and allowed five hits, all singles.
The loss went to Corey Kluber (3-3).
For the Rays, Cubans Yandy Díaz 4-1, Randy Arozarena 4-1. Colombian Harold Ramírez 3-1. The Dominicans Manuel Margot 4-1, Francisco Mejía 4-0. The Mexican Isaac Paredes 3-1.
For the Yankees, Venezuelan Gleyber Torres 4-1 with a run scored.