The Rays made CC Sabathia bend, but it was the Yankees bullpen that finally broke.
Tampa Bay used a stolen base and a tiebreaking RBI single by Chris Gimenez in the bottom of the eighth to take Monday's series opener against New York, 4-3, before 28,585 at Tropicana Field.
With the win, the third-place Rays closed to within 2 1/2 games of the American League East-leading Yankees.
"It's one game at a time," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "I just loved the way we played today. I thought we were so up for that game from the first pitch. ... I was really proud of our guys."
The Yankees continue to struggle at Tropicana Field, having lost 10 of their last 11 games there, dating to July 2011. The Rays' resilience at home when facing the Yankees has helped them go 8-5 overall against New York this year.
Read more: MLB.com Gameday | raysbaseball.com: Gameday