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Rays notes: Myers has another Bronx breakthrough

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Published:   |   Updated: July 29, 2013 at 07:22 AM

NEW YORK - Say this for RF Wil Myers: He's certainly not shy about playing on a big stage.

The rookie had the first two-home run game of his career Sunday, drove in four runs and nearly robbed the Yankees' Alfonso Soriano of a home run during the Rays' 6-5 loss at Yankee Stadium.

"It's pretty cool to be able to hit two here," Myers said. "I'd rather get the win than hit two home runs."

Myers, whose first big-league home run was a grand slam off LHP CC Sabathia at Yankee Stadium on June 22, became the first rookie to hit two homers in a game at Yankee Stadium since ex-Ray Reid Brignac on July 17, 2010.

Myers has a hit in nine straight games. He had at least two hits in eight of the games and is batting .474 with four home runs and 11 RBIs during the streak.

Wardrobe malfunction?

LHP Jake McGee, working his second inning, had his belt break while pitching to Brett Gardner in the ninth.

"I knew it was going to break eventually," McGee said. "It was pretty worn out. It's the same belt from last year. It's seen better days."

OF Matt Joyce, who was out of the game, gave his belt to 3B Evan Longoria and Longoria delivered it to McGee.

McGee then threw a wild pitch to Derek Jeter that moved Gardner into scoring position, and he scored the winning run on Soriano's one-out hit.

McGee said changing belts didn't lead to the wild pitch.

"No, not much," he said. "I was trying to go away (to Jeter). I knew he was going to bunt. I almost tried to aim it too much and I kind of yanked it."

Manager Joe Maddon went to the mound and told McGee to walk Jeter and get Robinson Cano to hit into a double play.

The strategy almost worked. McGee struck out Cano and got Soriano to hit the ball on the ground. But the grounder went into center field, and Gardner easily scored.

"I faced (Soriano) the other night, he hit a ground ball and it was a double play, so that was my thinking during the at-bat," McGee said. "I got the ground ball, but it wasn't in the right spot."

Four-man rotation

The five off days during the first 22 days of August will allow the Rays to use a four-man rotation of LHP David Price, LHP Matt Moore, RHP Jeremy Hellickson and RHP Chris Archer.

RHP Roberto Hernandez will head to the bullpen and could be the spot starter in the middle of the month when the Rays play nine games in nine days.

"We'll announce that relatively soon," Maddon said. "It's possible to do something like that, yes, but we're still trying to put it together."

The return of RHP Alex Cobb, whose minor-league rehab assignment has been interrupted by a blister on his right index finger, could add a wrinkle to those plans since it was believed Hernandez would head to the bullpen to make room for Cobb.

"It would add a degree of difficulty for what we're trying to do," Maddon said. "But of course we want to get Cobber back. It's a nice problem, we want to keep that problem, always want to have that problem. So we still have a little more time to figure that out, and we're going to use that time."

The rotation is set only as far as the midweek series with the Diamondbacks. Hernandez starts Tuesday and Hellickson will start Wednesday.

Noteworthy

The Rays were denied their first sweep of a three-game series at Yankee Stadium. . Longoria extended his hitting streak to 10 with a pair of hits Sunday, his first multihit game during the streak. . Moore's streak of homerless innings was snapped a 48 when he allowed a first-inning home run to Jeter. . 1B James Loney had two hits and has a major league-best .371 batting average on the road. His 18 hits against the Yankees this season are the most by an opponent. He has hit safely in his past 11 games against the Yankees. . Another check of the record books discovered that Archer was the first rookie to shut out the Yankees in New York on two hits or fewer and not walk a batter since Neil Allen did so for the White Sox in 1986. Allen is the Durham Bulls' pitching coach. . Archer's 0.73 ERA this month is the best ever by an MLB rookie in the month of July.

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