Jose Lobaton got his post-home run ice cream. So did Matt Joyce.

It was that kind of night for the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday at Tropicana Field — home runs ice cream in the dugout and an easy victory against the Yankees.

The Rays began a three-game series against the Yankees with a home run-powered 7-2 victory in front of 24239 Alex Rodriguez-booing fans at the Trop.

The Rays matched their season high with four home runs.

Chris Archer beat the Yankees for the third time this season. Pinstripes for Archer?

And the Rays cooled the Yankees handing the Bombers their first loss in six games.

They also climbed back atop the American League East once Boston fell to the Los Angeles Dodgers 2-0 later Friday night. The 73-53 Rays have played four fewer games than the Red Sox (75-55) so while the teams are tied in terms of games the Rays at .579 are two percentage points ahead.

The Rays will make up one of the four games with Monday's trip to Kansas City.

“This is a big game for us” Joyce said. “It's coming down to the wire. This stretch of games against teams in our division is huge. Everybody knows that. Everybody is excited to play these games and excited to see how things play out during the stretch.”

The Rays winners of seven of their past nine games increased their lead over the A's in the wild-card standings to 2½ games.

They did it with home runs from Lobaton Evan Longoria Joyce and Ben Zobrist. With a single from Lobaton that scored newcomer David DeJesus and gave Lobaton a career-high-tying fourth RBI.

They did it with seven strong innings from Archer who became the first rookie since Kevin Brown in 1989 to beat the Yankees three times in a season. Archer is 3-0 with a 1.23 ERA against the Yankees.

They did it with good defense including a couple of nifty grabs by Joyce in right field and one by DeJesus in the seventh that ended with him crashing into the left-field wall.