The Yankees have been officially eliminated from winning the American League East

Shawn Kelley throwing a pitch for the Yankees.

Shawn Kelley throwing a pitch for the Yankees.

The Yankees lost 1-0 in their game against the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday night at Tropicana Field. Their offense has been anemic recently since it was their fourth time being shutout in their last 11 games. With yesterday’s loss, the Yankees officially can’t win the American League East.

For the Yankees, the theme this year has been an inability to score runs, and the Yankees have only scored six runs combined in their previous five games. This includes Monday’s shutout, a shutout against the Orioles last Friday and a game where they only scored one run in the first game of their doubleheader on Friday. They had an outside chance at getting the second wild card before going 1-4 in their last five games, but it will now be virtually impossible to make up six games with 13 games to play.

“For whatever reason, we’re not hitting,” Joe Girardi said. “It’s frustrating. Eventually I think it’s got to turn, but it better turn pretty quickly here.”

Tampa Bay starter Alex Colome and Yankees starter Chris Capuano both did not allow a run. Colome allowed six hits and a walk in 6.2 innings, but Ichiro Suzuki’s double in the seventh was the only extra base hit that Colome allowed. Brian McCann flied out to center with runners on first and second to end the seventh.

The Yankees had Mark Teixeira on third and Carlos Beltran on second with one out in the second inning but Ichiro popped out to the shortstop and John Ryan Murphy flied out to right. That was their best opportunity to score while Colome was pitching, but the season-long struggle with runners in scoring position continued.

Brett Gardner, who was 0-4, said that the Yankees continued the trend of struggling to score. “Same story, we have been pitching really well, but it has just been hard for us to score runs,” Gardner said. “We have had flashes of being pretty good, but for the most part, we have just struggled to get guys across the plate, and it is frustrating because with all the injuries that we have had to our rotation the guys that have come up and come in from other places have really stepped up.”

Capuano had his second start with the Yankees where he allowed zero earned runs. He pitched six innings, walked four batters and only allowed two hits. Girardi took him out of the game after throwing 101 pitches. Capuano easily should have had his second win as a Yankee, but the Yankees were held scoreless by a Rays starter who was making only his second start of the season. Four Rays relief pitchers held the Yankees hitless over the final 2.1 innings, and Joel Paralta got the win as a result of Ben Zobrist‘s walk-off.

It was a questionable decision by Girardi to pitch Shawn Kelley in the ninth instead of Dellin Betances, and that decision did end up backfiring. Matt Joyce’s walk after James Loney and Logan Forsythe hit singles earlier in the inning loaded the bases with two outs. Zobrist, who is in his ninth season playing with the Rays, hit his walk-off passed Ichiro in right for the game-winning hit.

It is almost a fitting “ending” to the Yankees season that Martin Prado, who was a key trade deadline acquisition and really helped the offense before his injury, will miss the rest of the season because he had an appendectomy and had surgery on Tuesday. He had a .316 average with seven homers and 16 RBIs since being acquired via trade from Arizona on July 31. He has two years left on his contract and will likely be the team’s second baseman for the next two seasons.

The starters for the middle game of the three-game set will be Michael Pineda for the Yankees and Jake Odorizzi for the Rays. Pineda will look to rebound from his worst start of his season where he allowed four runs and 10 hits in 7.1 innings against the Rays on September 11. Besides that start, Pineda has allowed two runs or less in his nine other starts this season.

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