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The Grand Slam: Sean Rodriguez homer helps Rays finish sweep of Yankees

Mark Townsend
Big League Stew

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There's still a lot of baseball to be played and the Tampa Bay Rays aren't ready to concede anything just yet. On Wednesday, they ran their current winning streak to five games and completed a three-game series sweep in the Bronx by knocking off the Yankees, 6-3

It was a strong team effort, which has been a common theme during their streak. Seven different Rays reached base at least twice, including shortstop Sean Rodriguez. He led the offense with two hits and three RBIs, including a tiebreaking two-run homer off Shawn Kelley in the sixth. Desmond Jennings, Ben Zobrist and Brandon Guyer went a combined 7-for-12 with one walk and two runs in the top three spots, which left manager Joe Maddon encouraged.

''We're getting a different bus driver on a daily basis, that's kind of neat,'' Maddon said. ''That's who we have to be. We're not necessarily built around one guy. We're built as group. Everybody's got to do their job.''

Meanwhile, the opposite has been true for New York lately. The loss was their fifth straight and ninth in 11 games, which drops them to 41-42 on the season and 4 1/2 games behind the Toronto Blue Jays. The Rays are 38-49 and only nine and a half back.

MARINERS ON THE MOVE: The signing of Robinson Cano garnered all of the attention, but the Seattle Mariners found quite a bargain in 35-year-old right-hander Chris Young. Young, who hasn't pitched a complete season since 2007 and missed 2013 with arm issues, was 7-4 with a 3.15 entering play on Wednesday, and those numbers improved after he held the Houston Astros to two hits — both solo homers — over seven innings in Seattle's 5-2 win.

Young also struck out a season-high eight. In fact, that's the most he's struck out in an outing since striking out nine Colorado Rockies on Aug 21 , 2012. At this point, it's safe to say he's enjoying a resurgence that few could have predicted, and manager Lloyd McClendon is thrilled by the stability Young is providing his rotation.

''I don't know where we would be without him,'' McClendon said. ''He's done a tremendous job for us and (Wednesday) was no different.''

Logan Morrison, who was another big Seattle acquisition coming over from the Miami Marlins, provided some offensive thump. His go-ahead two-run double in the sixth inning held up as the deciding hit. John Buck and Kyle Seager added RBI singles as Seattle completed the sweep in Houston and raked up its fourth straight win.

Don't look now, but Seattle is only 4 1/2 games back in the AL West.

CUBS COMPLETE STUNNING SWEEP OF RED SOX:

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A disappointing season for the defending World Series champion Boston Red Sox may have reached another new low on Wednesday after falling 16-9 to the Chicago Cubs. A new low not just for the single game result, which was troubling enough, but with it the last place Cubs completed a dominant three-game series sweep with their second biggest offensive output of the season. 

Yes, they actually did one better on May 12 in St. Louis, scoring 17 runs on 20 hits. On Wednesday, Chicago settled for 16 runs on 19 hits. All nine starters contributed at least one hit and scored at least one run. The only player who didn't contribute an RBI was first baseman Anthony Rizzo. He's second on the team with 44 RBIs.

Justin Ruggiano (five RBIs), Mike Olt, Welington Castillo and Nate Schierholtz each homered in the win. Darwin Barney added four hits. Basically, it was an offensive onslaught, which was a stark contrast to the first two games in the series. The Cubs won those 2-0 and 2-1 to set up the stunning sweep, but maybe it shouldn't be so surprising given the Cubs recent spoiler history.

That's interesting. What isn't interesting for Boston is the fact they've dropped to nine games under .500 at 38-47. That ties their low water mark for the season. They were also nine under on May 25 (20-29) after dropping their tenth in a row against the Rays.

WEST COAST UPDATE: No movement atop the NL West on Wednesday after the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers each dropped home games. The Giants will maintain a half game lead in the NL West.  

The struggling St. Louis Cardinals snapped a 26-inning scoreless streak with a pair of runs in the third inning and then rode the right arms of Adam Wainwright, Pat Neshak and Trevor Rosenthal to a 2-0 victory over San Francisco. Wainwright allowed four hits over 7 2/3 scoreless innings to pick up his league best 11th win. Neshak cleaned up some traffic in the eighth, getting Gregor Blanco to pop up. Rosenthal took it from there, striking out two in a scoreless ninth.

Earlier in the day, former Giants' closer Brian Wilson retired one of the six batters he faced in the 8th inning as the Cleveland Indians rallied to defeat the Dodgers 5-4. Mike Aviles capped the rally with a two-run single.  

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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