The Tampa Bay Devil Rays batted around on the struggling 40-year-old in the first inning Tuesday night, scoring six runs on their way to an 11-4 victory in the debut of the revamped lineup the Yankees are counting on to pull them out of an early-season funk.
"All the anticipation went out the window because nobody looked at that," Yankees manager Joe Torre said of the new lineup. " Unless you pitch, nothing really matters.
"Everything sort of takes a backseat to how you control the game. A game like tonight, we couldn't control."
Nick Green had a two-run single, and Travis Phelps and Aubrey Huff also drove in two runs apiece against Brown (0-4), who allowed eight runs and matched a career high by yielding 13 hits in five innings.
Brown was 4-0 with a 1.88 ERA against Tampa Bay last season, but hasn't pitched well against anyone lately. He has lost seven straight starts dating to last season, the longest skid of his career. His ERA stands at 8.25 after giving up 22 runs and 41 hits in 24 innings this year.
New York's problems extend beyond Brown, though.
Torre said the team is going through the toughest stretch since he took over as manager in 1996.
"But you don't sit around complaining about it ... because certainly with all the success we've had we're not going to have anybody writing us any get-well cards," Torre said. "Time is spent trying to get it right and trying to get going in the right direction."
Owner George Steinbrenner, who had been expected at the game, was not seen at the ballpark.
The last-place Devil Rays snapped an eight-game losing streak that matched the second-longest in the majors this season. They were outscored 58-25 during the slide, including a sloppy 6-2 loss to the Yankees that left manager Lou Piniella fuming about the team's poor play Monday night.
"It feels good to win a ballgame. It's been awhile," Piniella said.
The manager chided his players after the series opener but discounted the impact the tongue-lashing had on the team's improved performance.
"I don't know about my talk," Piniella said. "These kids went out and played (better). That's what's important."
Eight of the first nine batters had hits off Brown, and the early deficit was too much for New York's sputtering offense to overcome against Doug Waechter (1-1).
Tino Martinez and Jorge Posada hit solo homers off the Devil Rays starter. Derek Jeter drove in New York's other two runs with a two-out triple off Waechter, who allowed four runs and six hits in seven innings.
Torre unveiled a new lineup with Hideki Matsui in center field, Tony Womack in left and minor-league prospect Robinson Cano making his major-league debut at second base -- a series of moves that bumped Bernie Williams, the regular center fielder since 1993, into a designated hitter's role. Cano went 0-for-3.
Brown declined to speak with reporters in a mostly empty clubhouse.
"Right now we have not been able to really put anything good together," Torre said. "I don't think there's any one person responsible player-wise. The manager is always responsible."
The Devil Rays matched a team record for first-inning runs with six. Toby Hall's two-run single off Felix Rodriguez made it 10-4 in the seventh. Phelps finished with three RBI, driving in the final run with an eighth-inning double off Rodriguez.
"It feels good to win. It's a heck of a lot more fun, that's for sure, especially beating a ballclub of the caliber they are," Phelps said.
"They may not be playing up to their potential right now, but -- you know what -- at any moment, they can put a five spot on you in any one inning and really make you hurt."
- After the game, the Yankees recalled LHP Sean Henn from Double-A Trenton to start Wednesday night against Tampa Bay, replacing Randy Johnson, who was scratched because of stiffness in his left groin. OF Bubba Crosby was optioned to Triple-A Columbus.
- The only other time the Devil Rays scored six in the first inning was at Yankee Stadium on May 15, 2002.
- Martinez returned to New York's lineup after sitting out the series opener because of flu-like symptoms.
- Torre remained two victories shy of joining Joe McCarthy, Casey Stengel, Miller Huggins and Ralph Houk as the only managers to win 900 games with the Yankees.