Notes: Beltran's mistake, Aceves steps up

NEW YORK -- The biggest play in the New York Yankees' 5-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday was Wil Myers' three-run inside-the-park home run in the third inning off CC Sabathia.

But it shouldn't have been a home run.

It was a legitimate extra-base hit, for sure. Yankees center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury almost snagged it, but the ball just eluded his grasp and hit the top of the wall in right-center field. The ball then deflected off Ellsbury and rolled toward right field.

The runner on second base would have scored anyway, and the runner on first may have scored as well. But right-fielder Carlos Beltran was late in backing up Ellsbury and retrieving the ball, which allowed Myers -- who loafed to first base before seeing the ball drop and picking up the pace -- to come all the way around.

"I just got caught up watching the play," Beltran said, "and when I reacted the ball kind of went toward the right-field wall and I just couldn't get to it."

Yankees manager Joe Girardi goes out of his way to avoid criticizing his own players, but came about as close as he gets to doing so on Sunday.

When asked if Beltran was supposed to be in position to back up Ellsbury on that play, Girardi said, "We have to take care of that, yes."

"I don’t think [Beltran] anticipated that that was gonna happen, is what happened," Girardi said later. "He didn’t read what could possibly happen there."

Beltran admitted he could have done a better job on the play.

"Sometimes, as an outfielder, you kind of like watch the play a little bit and see what happens and react," Beltran said. "That play right there, the perfect thing for me would have been to react a little bit faster."

Unsung hero: A day after being called up from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Alfredo Aceves came on in relief of the ineffective Sabathia in the fourth inning, and finished the game.

Aceves threw 5 1/3 shutout innings, giving up just three hits (all singles), with five strikeouts and no walks. After allowing a leadoff single to Desmond Jennings in the top of the sixth, Aceves retired 12 batters in a row to finish the day.

It didn't help the Yankees earn a win Sunday, but it could pay major dividends this coming week. The team's bullpen desperately needed a break -- Girardi had to use eight different pitchers in Friday night's 14-inning loss, and needed two innings of relief in Saturday's win as well.

"He did a heck of a job today," Girardi said, of Aceves. "He saved our bullpen, and it’s a bullpen that needed some rest, and he did a great job."

For Aceves, it was his first major league appearance of the season, and first with the Yankees since May 8, 2010. The Yanks re-acquired the 31-year-old righty just before Opening Day, after he was cut by the Baltimore Orioles.

But after Aceves struck out James Loney to start the top of the fifth, Girardi and a team trainer visited the mound to check on the pitcher.

"He said he just felt something in his leg," Girardi said. "It seemed to get better as time went on. I considered pulling him, but he threw a few pitches and said he was OK, and we checked with him every inning.

"I don’t know what it means tonight and tomorrow, if we run a test on him or what to see what’s going on or how he feels right now. But he was able to pitch (through) whatever was going on."

Aceves himself said he was fine after the game.

"The doctors checked it out, and they said it’s OK. So it’ll be OK," Aceves said. "Really looking forward for the next game."