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Yankees embrace playoff pressure in final two regular-season games vs. Rays: ‘We control our own destiny’

The Yankees are under pressure after Friday’s 4-3 loss against the Rays, but no one in the Yankee Stadium clubhouse appeared fazed despite the top AL Wild Card lead shrinking back down to one game with two more Tampa Bay matchups left.

“It’s the time of year,” said New York manager Aaron Boone. “We’re playing really good baseball, tough one right there and we’ve got to turn the page quickly and get after it tomorrow.”

LHP Nestor Cortes, who started with nearly five innings of length before the Yankees went through five more arms in a bullpen-heavy game, echoed Boone’s sentiments.

“You play 162 games for this reason,” Cortes said. “It comes down to the final two games. We’re on track and we just came back from an amazing road trip and, hopefully, we can turn this around tomorrow.”

The Yankees (91-69) and Rays (99-61) return to action Saturday at 1:05 p.m. The Boston Red Sox (90-70) are one game back after a 4-2 win over the Washington Nationals (65-95). The Seattle Mariners (89-71) lost to the Los Angeles Angels (76-84) on Friday and the Toronto Blue Jays (89-71) notched a 6-4 victory against the Baltimore Orioles (52-108). After Saturday’s game, the Yankees and Rays close out the regular season Sunday with a 3:05 p.m. matchup.

“Everybody’s still upbeat,” said LF Joey Gallo. “It was a close loss, really good team and we control our own destiny … so we’ve got to go about these next two games and keep that same mentality and win these games and we’re good.”

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