Yankees ride 5-run inning to victory over Rays

Juan Soto capped a five-run seventh inning by hitting a three-run homer as the New York Yankees capitalized on shoddy defense by the visiting Tampa Bay Rays in a 5-3 victory on Friday night.

The Yankees won for the 14th time in 20 games to start the season following seventh-inning errors by Tampa Bay second baseman Curtis Mead and first baseman Yandy Diaz.

Mead booted a grounder by Alex Verdugo with one out in the seventh on a ball that skipped under his glove. After a walk to Jose Trevino, Oswaldo Cabrera forged a 1-1 tie with a grounder that skipped by Diaz’s glove.

Anthony Volpe snapped the tie with a soft RBI-single to center, and Soto lifted a 1-0 pitch from Chris Devenski (0-1) into the second deck in right field.

Soto homered for the second straight game and his fifth homer of the season wasn’t his only highlight. He made a leaping catch at the right-field fence on Richie Palacios to end the third.

Palacios homered in the sixth off New York starter Clarke Schmidt, and the Rays’ Issac Paredes hit a two-run single in the eighth off Ian Hamilton.

Tampa Bay starter Tyler Alexander limited the Yankees to two hits in 5 1/3 innings. He struck out four and walked one while mixing in six pitches and throwing virtually all of his offerings under 90 mph.

Devenski allowed two hits and was charged with five unearned runs as the Rays fell to 7-2 in games decided by two runs or less.

Schmidt allowed one run on seven hits in 5 1/3 innings. Schmidt struck out seven and walked none in a 102-pitch outing.

Dennis Santana (1-0) pitched 1 2/3 innings and Hamilton got the final two outs after allowing Paredes’ single in the eighth. Clay Holmes escaped trouble in the ninth and got a game-ending double play to finish off his eighth save in nine opportunities.

Holmes put two runners on and nearly loaded the bases after center fielder Aaron Judge trapped a fly ball by Randy Arozarena. Ben Rortvedt was forced out at third , then Volpe started a double play on Palacios’ lineout.