NEW YORK — One night it was Logan Forsythe with the big hit. On another it was James Loney. Then Sean Rodriguez stepped up for the streaking Tampa Bay Rays.
Just the way manager Joe Maddon likes his three-game sweeps.
Rodriguez hit a tiebreaking homer in the sixth inning and drove in three runs, helping the Rays extend their longest winning string this year to five and handing the New York Yankees their season-worst fifth straight loss, 6-3 Wednesday.
“We’re getting a different bus driver on a daily basis, that’s kind of neat,” Maddon said. “That’s who we have to be. We’re not necessarily built around one guy. We’re built as group. Everybody’s got to do their job.”
The Rays won all three games at Yankee Stadium for their first road sweep since taking three in the Bronx Sept. 24-26.
After veering way off course early, Tampa Bay has that bus back on track. The Rays improved to 11 games under .500 for the first time in a month after falling 18 under on June 10, and the team is finally buying into Maddon’s plan.
“As a team we’re starting to flow better, guys are starting to understand each other better,” Rodriguez said.
Ben Zobrist doubled twice among his three hits for the Rays, but ran into two outs. Rodriguez was thrown out trying to stretch an RBI single to the wall in right field in the fourth.
“That’s the one thing we’re trying to do, it’s turn up that aggressiveness dial,” Maddon said.
Brett Gardner hit a leadoff homer and an RBI single against Jake Odorizzi (4-7) and added another hit for the Yankees. New York could muster little other than Brian McCann’s long ball on a sweltering day at Yankee Stadium. Humidity made the temperature feel as if it were in the high 90s.
New York is below .500 at 41-42 for the first time since April 11. The last time the Yankees were below .500 during the second half was in 2007 when they were 42-43. They went 52-25 the rest of the way to earn the wild card.
“I still believe in this team,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “We just need to play better. It’s a lot of different phases. You can look at almost every phase and say we need to play better and we have to find a way to get it done.”
Joel Peralta tied Esteban Yan’s record for appearances with the Rays at 266 when he pitched a scoreless eighth inning. Brad Boxberger was perfect in the ninth for his first save.
Brandon Guyer had an RBI single in the fifth. The Rays put runners on base in every inning but the second against Vidal Nuno (2-5) and three relievers.
MARINERS 5, ASTROS 2
HOUSTON — Logan Morrison drove in two runs in a big sixth inning, Chris Young pitched seven strong innings and Seattle completed a three-game sweep.
Young (8-4) allowed two hits — both solo homers — and struck out a season-high eight. It was his most strikeouts since he fanned nine against Colorado in 2012. Fernando Rodney pitched a scoreless ninth for his 24th save.
BLUE JAYS 7, BREWERS 4
TORONTO — Edwin Encarnacion hit a three-run, walk-off home run in the ninth inning and Toronto dealt Milwaukee its third straight loss.
Jose Bautista and Juan Francisco also connected for the Blue Jays, who have hit a major league high 113 home runs this season.
Facing Will Smith (1-1), Jose Reyes led off the ninth with a double that left fielder Elian Herrera dove for but couldn’t handle. Melky Cabrera was intentionally walked and Brandon Kintzler came on to face Anthony Gose, who failed to advance the runners with a bunt when Reyes was forced at third.
TIGERS 9, ATHLETICS 3
DETROIT — Torii Hunter hit three RBI singles and capped a six-run burst in the sixth inning that propelled Detroit to finish a three-game sweep.
The three-time AL Central champion Tigers won for the 11th time in 13 games. The division leaders reached the halfway mark with a 47-34 mark.
Justin Verlander (7-7) won for the first time since May 30. He looked like he might be in trouble when Coco Crisp and Brandon Moss hit long homers off him in the first inning, but left after the sixth with a 9-2 lead.
INDIANS 5, DODGERS 4
LOS ANGELES — Mike Aviles capped a three-run eighth inning with a two-run single against Brian Wilson, rallying Cleveland past Los Angeles.
Ryan Raburn homered off Hyun-Jin Ryu, who was lifted after seven with a 3-2 lead.
Wilson (1-3) retired only one of the six batters he faced, giving up a tying single by pinch-hitter David Murphy and Aviles’ clutch hit after an intentional walk to Lonnie Chisenhall.
Brian Shaw (3-1) pitched a scoreless seventh to get the victory.
CUBS 16, RED SOX 9
BOSTON — Justin Ruggiano, Mike Olt and Welington Castillo hit two-run homers to power Chicago in the finale of a three-game interleague series sweep.
Ruggiano drove in five runs, Darwin Barney had four hits and Nate Schierholtz added a solo homer for Chicago, which won for the sixth time in seven games away from Wrigley Field and posted its first interleague sweep of three or more games since taking three from Cleveland in 2009.
It was the Cubs’ first interleague sweep on the road since winning three against the crosstown rival White Sox in 2007.
Mookie Betts hit his first major league homer for the Red Sox, who lost for the ninth time in 13 games.
Red Sox DH David Ortiz became the 36th player in major league history to collect 1,000 extra-base hits with a ground-rule double.
ROYALS 4, TWINS 0
MINNEAPOLIS — Jason Vargas threw seven scoreless innings and Raul Ibanez homered in his second game for Kansas City.
Vargas (8-3) allowed four singles and two walks while striking out five, allowing only two runners from a diluted Twins lineup to reach second base.
Mike Moustakas and Jarrod Dyson hit RBI singles in the second inning against Kevin Correia (4-10). With Joe Mauer missing on the disabled list because of a strained muscle on his right side, the Twins were shut out for the sixth time this season and lost for the seventh time in their last nine games.
PADRES 3, REDS 0
SAN DIEGO — Tyson Ross threw a three-hitter for his first career shutout and Rene Rivera hit a three-run single off big league ERA leader Johnny Cueto to give San Diego to its first three-game sweep since September.
The Padres, who tied their season high with their fourth straight win, hadn’t swept a series since Sept. 6-8 against Colorado.
Ross (7-8) was dominating in throwing his first complete game in 55 career starts. He struck out nine and walked none.
With the bases loaded and two outs in the first, Rivera hit a blooper to the gap that hit off the heel of the glove of diving center fielder Billy Hamilton to give San Diego a 3-0 lead.
Cueto (8-6) came in with the best ERA in the majors, 1.88. It rose to 1.99.