Meadows, Rays split with Yankees in 7-inning doubleheader

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New York Yankees' Gerrit Cole pitches to the Tampa Bay Rays during the first inning of the first game of a baseball doubleheader game Saturday, Aug. 8, 2020, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Austin Meadows hit a two-run single, and the Tampa Bay Rays held off the New York Yankees 5-3 for a split of seven-inning games in a doubleheader Saturday.

The Yankees won the opener 8-4 as ace Gerrit Cole came within one strike of earning his 20th straight regular-season win.

Cole, who had won his first three starts since signing a $324 million, nine-year contract in the offseason, took a 5-0 lead into the fifth inning but gave up three runs with two outs and was pulled because of a high pitch count.

In the nightcap, the Rays used six pitchers during a bullpen game. Aaron Judge, who hit his eighth home run of the season in the opener, flied out with a runner on base to end it.

“We're still not rolling but this was encouraging,” Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash said. “We had some pretty good at-bats against Gerrit.”

Lefty-swinging Mike Ford hit for Yankees slugger Giancarlo Stanton against lefty Jalen Beeks in the sixth inning of Game 2 with two on and no outs. Stanton, who also homered in the first game, exited with tightness in his left hamstring.

“It was when he moved up on the wild pitch (in the fourth), that’s where (it) tightened up on him." Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. "We’re going to get an MRI, but it does look like an IL situation.”

Stanton, limited to 18 games last season due to injuries, was hurt during spring training this season and rehabbed during the shutdown at the Yankees' complex in Tampa, Florida.