ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The New York Yankees ended a five-game losing streak against the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday night, and while that game took place, they put even more distance between them and their divisional rivals.
The Yankees announced late Tuesday they acquired Zach Britton from the Baltimore Orioles for three minor league pitchers, adding another reliable arm with closing experience to an already loaded bullpen.
After getting Britton, the Yankees close out a three-game series with the Rays on Wednesday afternoon.
The Yankees acquired Britton about two hours after Masahiro Tanaka fired a three-hitter in a 4-0 victory. Tanaka's gem occurred a night after Tampa Bay opened the series with a 7-6 win.
"That's the AL East," Rays rookie left fielder Jake Bauers said. "You can never take a night off."
Britton is two years removed from having 47 saves, and he's been limited by injury this year, with a rather ordinary 1-0 record with a 3.45 ERA. He hasn't allowed a run in the month of July, however, and the Rays know him well as an American League East mainstay -- he's 2-3 all-time with a 2.63 ERA against Tampa Bay, and his 54 strikeouts are the most he has against any opponent.
"That'll be pretty crazy," New York reliever Dellin Betances said. "Obviously Britton has been one of the best arms of the last four or five years. To add a guy of his caliber would be huge. We could kind of start our own game as a bullpen."
The Yankees won't use a bullpen game in their 100th game of the season but will recall right-hander Luis Cessa from Triple-A Scranton and he will make his third start. Cessa is taking the turn of Domingo German, who was optioned to the minors after struggling in a 7-5 loss to the New York Mets on Friday.
Cessa is 1-1 with a 3.00 ERA this season, his only action against the Rays coming in a two-inning relief appearance June 22, not allowing a run or hit.
He is 3-0 with a 1.42 ERA in three starts in Triple-A.
For his career, he's 0-2 with a 4.50 ERA against Tampa Bay.
The Rays (51-50), in danger of falling back to .500, will turn to a familiar face for Yankees fans: Nathan Eovaldi (3-4, 4.26 ERA), who pitched for New York in 2015-16, going 14-3 in 2015.
Eovaldi has been alternately dominant and middling this season, with three starts allowing one hit or less, making him a potential trade chip for the Rays before next Tuesday's non-waiver trade deadline.
Eovaldi, recovering well after missing all of 2017 due to Tommy John surgery, pitched well in his last start, throwing six innings against the Miami Marlins and allowing only one run while striking out eight in a no-decision.
The right-hander faced the Yankees on June 15 in New York when he allowed five runs on eight hits in 7 1/3 innings in a 5-0 loss.
After Tuesday's win, the Yankees now have a 6-5 edge in the season series, and they'll host the Rays from Aug. 14-16 before returning to Tropicana Field in the final week of the season for four games on Sept. 24-27. After Wednesday's getaway game, they'll return home for four against the Royals and two against the Orioles -- who just traded them Britton in a rare inter-division trade.
The Rays, almost sure to be major sellers in the next week before the deadline, go to Baltimore next for four games, then return home for the next nine, including three more against Baltimore.