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Aaron Boone, Gerrit Cole see Yankees progress despite series loss at Rays

May 6, 2023; St. Petersburg, Florida, USA; New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone (17) looks on against the Tampa Bay Rays ]during the fifth inning at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports / © Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Yankees ace Gerrit Cole was brutally honest with himself after his six runs (five earned) allowed, over the fifth and sixth innings, set the stage for New York’s eventual 8-7 loss Sunday at the Tampa Bay Rays.

“Well, I thought we played ’em tough,” he said. “Three one-run games — yeah, it’s always a battle against these guys. I thought that the level of compete was there from every pitch. I thought that the guys picked me up so huge today, I mean, making this a competitive game all the way to the 10th. They did a fantastic job offensively, continuing to put good swings and have good at-bats.

“I thought that they progressed, we progressed as a group throughout the series and I just let ’em down today by just coughing up the lead.”

Cole (5-0, 2.09 ERA) got off the hook with a no-decision result following the Yankees’ seventh-inning response, scratching a run across on Jose Trevino‘s groundout to third that scored Harrison Baderbut last-place New York (18-17) ultimately squandered what would have been a three-game series win at the AL East-leading Rays (28-7) in 10 innings.

“Tough one, obviously,” said Yankees manager Aaron Boone. “But it’s part of it. We’re going to have great come-from-behind wins when you don’t see it and you’re going to have these over the course of the year. We crawled our way right back into it Just they were obviously able to put together a really big inning. Credit to them.

“So, yeah, difficult — but we start a big homestand tomorrow, and we’ve got to move on from it.”

The Yankees, who are 10 games back of the Rays and 2 1/2 behind the fourth-place Boston Red Sox (21-15) enter Monday’s three-game series against the Oakland A’s (8-27) with a favorable chance to get back on track.

A rematch looms with the Rays in the form of a four-game set that starts Thursday at Yankee Stadium and closes out the homestand.

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