To date, the only games the New York Yankees (48-32) have won in the Tampa Bay Area this year were during spring training.
The Yankees were beaten 7-4 Tuesday night by the Tampa Bay Rays (43-38), bringing their losing streak at Tropicana Field to nine games. They're 0-5 at the venue this season (4-7 vs. Tampa Bay overall) and haven't won there since Wednesday, July 20, 2011, when four Yankees pitchers combined to toss a 4-0 shutout.
Sloppy defense through the first two games of the teams' current series, in particular errors made by Mark Teixeira and Eric Chavez at first, have cost the Yankees, who'll have to rely on rookie starter David Phelps (1-3, 3.16 ERA) to avoid a sweep on Wednesday afternoon (3:10 p.m. ET).
And as if Phelps didn't already face enough pressure going into what is only his third career start, the Rays are sending their ace, David Price (11-4, 2.92 ERA), to the hill in the series finale.
New York's lead in the American League East has been cut to 5-1/2 games. The Rays and Baltimore Orioles (42-37) are virtually tied for second in the division, and the Boston Red Sox (42-38)--vs. whom the Yankees begin a four-game set at Fenway Park on Friday night--trail by six games.