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we are a very resilient team and sometimes we

ST. . PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Blake Snell and the Tampa Bay Rays bullpen combined to strand 11 New York runners in a 2-0 win Thursday night that prevented a much-needed three-game sweep by the Yankees.New York went 0 for 8 with runners in scoring position, including 0 for 7 against Snell. The Yankees started play 2 1/2 games in back of Baltimore for the second AL wild-card spot and also trailed Seattle, Houston and Detroit.Snell (6-8) gave up five hits and three walks. New York had scoring threats in four of five innings against him, leaving the bases loaded in the third when Chase Headley flied out. Headley returned to New Yorks lineup after missing three games because of back tightness.Chase Whitley, in his third game since returning from Tommy John surgery, allowed two hits in 2 2/3 innings, and Alex Colome finished for his 35th save in 37 chances.Brad Miller had an RBI single in the first after Logan Forsythe led off with a catchable popup to right field that Aaron Hicks allowed to drop in front of him for a hit. Corey Dickerson hit a solo homer in the sixth off Luis Cessa (4-3), who gave two runs and six hits in six innings.Yankees rookie catcher Gary Sanchez threw out Kevin Kiermaier at second base in the third inning to end the speedsters run of 18 consecutive successful stolen bases attempts. Sanchez picked Curt Casali off second one inning later.Sanchez went 0 for 2 but walked twice.TRAINERS ROOMYankees: RHP Masahiro Tanaka will miss his start Monday at Toronto due to a slight lower right forearm strain. . Headley (back spasms) returned after missing three games. . Manager Joe Girardi expects 2B Starlin Castro (right hamstring) to play again this season.Rays: LHP Xavier Cedeno (neck) wont play again this season.INSTRUCTION TIMEYankees 1B Greg Bird (right labrum surgery) remains on target to take batting practice against pitchers at instructional league early next week. . Reggie Jackson and Alex Rodriguez are expected to spent time as instructors with the Yankees instructional league team.MOVING DAYYankees: Minor league LHP Phil Coke was traded to Pittsburgh for $1.Rays: INF Juniel Querecuto had his contract selected from Double-A Montgomery and started at third base in his big league debut.UP NEXTYankees: RHP Bryan Mitchell (1-1) will start against LHP Francisco Liriano (1-2) Friday night in the opener of a four-game series at Toronto.Rays: RHP Chris Archer (8-18) will look to avoid a team-record 19th loss when he pitches against LHP Drew Pomeranz (2-5) and AL East-leading Boston on Friday night. . But the quarterback hopes to stay involved in football after officially calling it quits Tuesday. "Id love to look at those opportunities as they arise," Pierce said in an interview from his Winnipeg eatery. . Jordan Lynch, the all-purpose Heisman Trophy finalist from Northern Illinois, failed to make it into that exclusive club. . Those lessons were more than enough to overwhelm the Utah Jazz. Lou Williams scored 25 points and the Hawks continued their offensive upswing as they rolled to an easy 118-85 victory over the Jazz on Friday night, winning their third straight and for the fourth time in five games. Despite a dearth of Test cricket compared to the Big Three and several months between fixtures, South Africa, at times, took their place in the format for granted and in so doing lost some of their stature. That was the startling admission of stand-in captain Faf du Plessis ahead of the two-Test series against New Zealand, which sees South Africa competing from No. 7 on the rankings after starting the year on top.We had a nice culture because we were playing well and then you can almost just leave it be. Now, we want to challenge each other more and that goes right from the top, from the coaching staff to the guys carrying drinks on the field. We are trying to challenge each other more to be better and to not accept mediocrity, du Plessis said. We have fallen in a few traps where we play so much cricket, you just rock up and play another game of cricket but playing for South Africa is a huge honour and its about challenging each other to be better and to get back to being No. 1.The ladder back to the top cannot be climbed immediately but any margin of victory for South Africa over New Zealand will see them move up to fifth spot and for du Plessis, thats a start. Weve got series at home now which can make a difference and which we will need to win. Weve got New Zealand now and Sri Lanka later this year and in both those series, if we play well, we should win, he said.If South Africa hope to turn things around, they have to start by exorcising the demons that discovered them in India late last year. We suffered a bit; we had a few ghosts after the Indian series and that was most of the guys. India was tough for us a batting unit and it left a few scars, du Plessis said. Now its a new season, we can focus on the strength of our batting again. The only way we can do that is by putting runs on the board.Du Plessis was one of the players that struggled most. In seven innings in India, he recorded three ducks and only made more than 10 runs once. Although he managed one fifty in five innings against England at home, he was dropped for the final Test at Centurion. Now, he returns as captain with a point to prove. I had been very successful up until that point, where I averaged close to 50 in Test cricket so to look to dramatically change things would be wrong, he said. But its about going back to my game plans and what worked really well. If you have good form, you can just run with it and score as many runs as possible. If you are on the other side of that, you need to fight to get back in.. In the England series, we were fighting to get back into form after the Indian series. Its an important series for me personally to try and make a statement in that middle order and be a powerful batter in our line-up.Batting was only half South Africas problem though. They were also deficient with ball in hand last summer, during which they were without Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander. The pair have returned from their respective injuries and du Plessis believes it will make a big difference to South Africas ability to compete. We saw when they werent there against England that you cannot replace an experienced attack. Take Southee and Boult out of New Zealand or Anderson and Broad out of England and its just a different team, he said. Theres no substitute in Test cricket for guys who can bowl relentlessly in good areas for a long period of time. Young bowlers can come in and do well in any other format but, especially in Test cricket, experience is really important.New Zealand have Southee and Boult in their ranks, to complement an inform batting line-up in which Tom Latham, Ross Taylor, Kane Williamson and BJ Watling all recently scored centuries in Zimbabwe, which should make for what du Plessis predicts will be an evenly matched series, but what he hopes will put South Africa ahead is their new approach. After a pre-series team-building camp in which South Africa promised to form a new culture driven by a lot more honesty, they also took a decision to be more assertive on the field.We are a very resilient team and sometimes we waited for the chips to be down and then we came back and played really good cricket. We did that extremely well and there was a time when we were the only team that could stick it out and fight back and draw, du Plessis said, making reference to matches like the Adelaide, Wanderers and Colombo Tests, where South Africa forced draws from what seemed like lost causes.Now South Africa want to move from that defensive style of play to a more attacking one. For us to move forward as a team, we need to throw the first punch more and play a more aggressive brand of cricket, du Plessis said but tempered it a touch. Aggressive never means doing anything stupid. We understand what we need to do. The basics in Test cricket will always remain the most important thing. 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