ST. PETERSBURG — Ryan Yarbrough was only supposed to throw on Sunday if it was an emergency. In the 12th inning with the score tied 6-6 and a runner on first, there was an emergency.
Jonny Venters tweaked his right hamstring trying to cover first base. So Yarbrough had to come in cold and face the heart of the Yankees lineup. But Yarbrough retired Aaron Judge and Didi Gregorious. And with two outs and Brett Gardner on third, he got Gary Sanchez to ground out.
"It helped that we had some pretty good communication when we were stretching before the game like we always do,'' Yarbrough said. "(Pitching coach Kyle) Snyder came by and asked me how I was feeling. He said it would be pure emergency, but if we needed you can you possibly throw today? By the fifth or sixth inning they told me I should probably get loose and put some cleats on.''
Yarbrough (7-3) got the win after Jake Bauers ended it with a walkoff homer.
"We told him he needed to be ready just in case,'' Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "He really picked us up.''
Venters to the DL
The Rays will have to make a roster move after Venters injured his right hamstring in the 12th inning while running to cover first base. Gardner led off with a perfectly placed drag bunt and Venters felt a tweak in his hamstring. He will be placed on the 10-day disabled list.
"I've never had a hamstring injury before but this feels like a mild strain,'' Venters said. "It doesn't feel like anything serious. It's disappointing, but hopefully I'll get back out there soon.''
Support for Ramos
Rays catcher Wilson Ramos is nicknamed "Bufalo'' (Spanish version of Buffalo) because of his stature (6 feet 1, 245 pounds). LHP Blake Snell campaigned for his teammate to make the All-Star Game, donning a Buffalo cap with black horns.
"I'm just supporting Bufalo for the All-Star Game,'' Snell said. "I think he's a clear choice. He's got pop and he runs pretty good for a catcher. Sometimes you don't see it, but for a catcher he runs pretty well. And then there's how he calls a game. He's a great player.''
Ramos had the day off on Sunday. He is hitting .291 with nine home runs and 36 RBIs. His 68 hits are tops among American League catchers.
Cash believes Ramos is just one of a few players who are worthy of All-Star consideration.
"I think Wilson is very deserving,'' Cash said. "I think we have a few guys in that mix. Blake has put himself in the mix and Matt Duffy has. But Wilson has done a lot of good things at the plate, he's done a good job of navigation our young pitchers. In the last two days, we don't win those games without guiding those pitchers through some sticky circumstances.''
Snell gets first start vs. Nationals
Blake Snell has been the Rays' most consistent starter this season, but his last outing was a bit strange. He allowed only one run and three hits over seven innings in a win against the Astros. But he also had a career-high seven walks.
Whether that is an aberration remains to be seen. In 13 starts this season, Snell has allowed two runs or fewer. He is scheduled to face the Nationals for the first time Monday night at Tropicana Field.
"Walking seven was frustrating,'' Snell said. "But my stuff is good, I know that. I was able to go seven and get some first pitch outs. I went deep in that game but it just wasn't what I wanted it to be.''
Cash has no doubt Snell has established himself as a first-rate starter.
"He's moved past potential,'' Cash said. "He has shown the ability to be a dominant starter in the American League. He's learned from the games he has struggled in. I was impressed with the Houston start, (seven) walks but still found a way to limit that potent offense. This game will get a bit easier for him in the fact that he is so dominant with all his pitches.''
Robertson to try the outfield
Daniel Robertson has been very good in the infield the past two games since coming off the 10-day disabled list. He got Sunday off and could get a start in the outfield Monday night. He caught fly balls in the outfield before Sunday's game.
He has played the outfield in spring training the past two years but has not played outfield in a regular-season game.
• The Nationals are in town for a quick two-game series. The Rays are 0-7 in interleague play this season, including two losses to Washington.
• The Rays drew a total of 80,750 for the three-game series against the Yankees, the most for any three-game series this season. Of course, the Yankees are a big draw wherever they go. They lead baseball with an average road attendance of 33,524.
• Yankees OF Giancarlo Stanton went 5-for-5, the first time he's five hits in a game since 2010 with the Marlins. "He had a great day,'' Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. "He was obviously a big reason why we were able to get back in it.''