ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Gerrit Cole took a no-hit bid into the eighth inning, Aaron Hicks hit a tiebreaking triple in the ninth as Manuel Margot slammed into the right-field wall and the New York Yankees beat the Tampa Bay Rays 4-2 on Monday night for their 50th win.
New York has won 17 of its last 19 games, and its 50-17 start is the best in the major leagues since the 2001 Seattle Mariners. The Yankees opened a 14-game lead over third-place Tampa Bay in the AL East.
Cole struck out 12 and walked three, allowing one run and one hit in 7 1/3 innings. Cole struck out six in a row at one point and led 2-0 when Isaac Paredes grounded a slider on his 105th pitch off the mound and into center field. On June 3, Cole pitched 6 2/3 perfect innings at Detroit.
Clay Holmes (5-0) blew a 2-0 lead and allowed his first run since opening day, ending a 31 1/3 inning scoreless streak.
Anthony Rizzo hit a first inning home run off Shane McClanahan, and the Yankees got a run in the seventh on an error by first baseman Ji-Man Choi, the major league-high 45th unearned run allowed by the Rays.
With the score 2-2, Josh Donaldson singled off Jason Adam (0-2) with one out in the ninth and Hicks, batting .321 in June, drove a hanging changeup high off the right-field wall. Margot fell to the field as center fielder Brett Phillips retrieved the ball and Donaldson scored. Rays manager Kevin Cash and an athletic trainer went out to Margot, who appeared to hurt and knee and left the field on a cart.
Jose Trevino followed with a sacrifice fly.
Wandy Peralta pitched the ninth for his second save, and the Yankees improved to 6-2 against the Rays this season, striking out Josh Lowe with two on and retiring Francisco Mejía on a flyout.
After Paredes singled off a clearly deflated Cole, Lowe flied…