Aaron Boone had seen enough.
After taking Nick Nelson out of the game in the seventh, Boone got in the face of home plate umpire Chad Whitlock and was tossed in a 9-2 defeat to the Rays that put the Yankees right back where they were when they started the series: in third place and 4 ½ games behind front-running Tampa Bay.
The Yankees grew so frustrated Thursday that even DJ LeMahieu, not known for losing his cool, argued with Whitlock after a called third strike in the eighth. LeMahieu then went back to the dugout and slammed his helmet on the bat rack repeatedly — even though the final strike call was correct.
There were poor performances all around, from the Yankees not producing with runners in scoring position and another subpar outing from Gerrit Cole, who allowed five runs in five innings for the second time in four starts.
There was also bad umpiring by Whitlock behind the plate, providing a generous strike zone to Rays left-hander Ryan Yarbrough, who limited the Yankees to two runs in the complete game victory. The Rays hadn’t had a complete game since 2016.
But the Yankees had hoped to gain ground on the Rays in the four-game series in The Bronx and failed to do so.
Now they’ll face the Red Sox for the first time this season when Boston visits Yankee Stadium on Friday.