After struggling for almost two weeks to score runs, the Tampa Bay Rays have had little trouble doing so over their previous two games against the New York Yankees.
The Rays hope to continue their offensive surge and maintain their recent success against the visiting Yankees on Sunday.
Tampa Bay (9-9) hit .194 and totaled 16 runs while losing seven of 10, including 10-2 to New York on Thursday. However, the Rays have batted .410 and recorded 32 hits while outscoring the Yankees (10-8) 27-6 in the last two games.
Wil Myers homered twice, Evan Longoria had one and they each had four RBIs during Tampa Bay’s 16-1 rout Saturday. Ryan Hanigan also hit two home runs and drove in six for the Rays, who matched the fourth-highest run total in club history while beating New York for the 10th time in 13 meetings.
"It’s an awesome team win," Hanigan said. "Top to bottom. Good pitching. Good defense. We all swung the bats pretty well."
Myers is 6 for 9 with seven RBIs in the last two games after batting .192 with four RBIs in his first 14 contests.
Longoria is 7 for 10 in the series and batting .480 (24 for 50) with six homers and 19 RBIs during a 12-game hitting streak against the Yankees.
After tagging Ivan Nova for eight runs and four homers in four innings Saturday, the Rays look to get the best of Vidal Nuno (0-0, 14.54 ERA), who will come out of the bullpen to start the finale.
The left-hander, who has three relief appearances this season, went 1-1 with a 2.12 ERA in three starts during his first major league season in 2013. That included a six-inning effort at Tropicana Field on May 25 when he allowed two runs during a 4-3, 11-inning victory.
New York managed three hits Saturday, all against starter Chris Archer, but hope the expected return of slugger Mark Teixeira will provide a boost Sunday.
Teixeira was 3 for 12 with two RBIs when he hurt an adductor muscle alongside his hamstring during a 7-3 win at Toronto on April 4.
"We kind of tested it in a lot of different ways,’" he said. "I’ve had a lot of good work, so there’s really nothing else for me to do."
Teixeira, who was limited to 15 games last season because of a wrist injury, is 4 for 9 with two doubles and a home run in his last three at Tropicana Field, but has not faced the Rays since 2012.
He’s 2 for 6 with a double against scheduled Tampa Bay starter Cesar Ramos (0-1, 7.50), who makes his second straight start after coming out of the bullpen to replace the injured Matt Moore. The left-hander allowed four runs and walked three in two innings of a 12-4 loss at Cincinnati on Sunday.
Ramos is making his first start versus New York, but has a 7.62 ERA without a decision in 13 relief appearances against the Yankees.
Batting .316 during a nine-game hitting streak and .380 in his last 12 versus Tampa Bay, Derek Jeter is expected to be in the lineup after resting Saturday.