NEW YORK -- Slumping Matt Joyce led off the game with a home run and the Tampa Bay Rays beat the New York Yankees 7-0 Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium.
The Rays (88-69) moved five games ahead of the Yankees (82-75) by winning their fifth straight game. The Rays remained one-half game ahead of the Cleveland Indians for the second wild card spot.
With the loss, the Yankees can do no better than tie the Indians for the second wild-card spot in the American League. One more Yankees loss or one more Indians victory will officially eliminate the Yankees from playoff contention.
David DeJesus had an RBI double and Evan Longoria lifted a sacrifice fly in a three-run first inning against Hiroki Kuroda (11-13 that began when Joyce hit his 18th home run on the third pitch of the night. It was Joyce's fourth hit in 42 at-bats this month after he batted .350 in August.
James Loney added a two-run single in the fifth for Tampa Bay, which posted its 16th shutout. Delmon Young also had an RBI double after entering the game as a pinch hitter for Joyce, and DeJesus added a second run-scoring double.
Matt Moore (16-4) improved to 9-1 on the road despite struggling with his control at times. He managed to hold the Yankees to three hits over five innings despite issuing six walks and throwing three wild pitches.
Jamey Wright pitched a scoreless inning, and rookie Jake Odorizzi worked three scoreless innings for the save, ending the game by getting Alex Rodriguez to hit into a double play.
Kuroda (11-13) continued his late-season fade, allowing five runs and five hits in 5 2/3 innings. He fell to 1-7 since July 31 after starting the year with a 10-6 record.
The Yankees lost for the eighth time in 11 games. They were 1-for-13 with men on base against Moore and 1-for-17 with men on overall.
Tampa Bay quickly took a 3-0 lead just 11 pitches into the game and five minutes after the first pitch.
Joyce led off with a home run to right field on a 1-1 slider. Wil Myers then singled and scored on DeJesus' double to right field. DeJesus took third on the play when the relay throw went to the plate, and he scored on Longoria's sacrifice fly.
The Yankees stranded two in the first, wasting walks by Rodriguez and Alfonso Soriano when Mark Reynolds struck out swinging. The Yankees had the bases loaded with one out in the third when Moore walked Soriano, but Reynolds flied out to right field and Eduardo Nunez grounded out to third.
In the fourth, the Yankees had two on with one out after Chris Stewart drew a 13-pitch walk, but Ichiro Suzuki grounded out and Rodriguez flied out to center field.
NOTES: The Yankees announced that RHP Phil Hughes will start in place of LHP CC Sabathia on Wednesday. Sabathia was shut down for the season Monday with a Grade 2 left hamstring strain that occurred early in Friday's start. Sabathia finished his fifth season with the Yankees by going 14-13 with a career-worst 4.78 ERA but vowed to be better next season. "I know a lot of people have written me off and said that I've thrown too many innings, whatever, whatever, but I'll still be here and still be accountable and still be the guy that signed up for 2009," he said. ... Tampa Bay OF Desmond Jennings sat out for the second straight game with a left hamstring strain and is considered day-to-day. ... Myers and Ben Zobrist switched places from the original lineup. Myers was initially slated to bat fifth while Zobrist was slotted as the second-place hitter. ... Tuesday was Mariano Rivera bobblehead night for the first 18,000 fans, but a delay with the truck delivering them forced the Yankees to give out vouchers, which were redeemed starting in the third.