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N.Y. Yankees «000220100570
Tampa Bay000110000251

Wright lifts Yankees to fifth straight win in return

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
  •  

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Nearly four months after thinking his career might be over, Jaret Wright is back -- and pitching well -- for the New York Yankees.

Wright won his first start since going on the disabled list because of shoulder pain, and Alex Rodriguez and Gary Sheffield homered Monday night, helping the Yankees beat the Tampa Bay Devil Rays 5-2 for their fifth straight victory.

"If I could have envisioned it, this is exactly what I would have envisioned," Wright said. "Coming in after three months and being able to compete and getting a win. It's a really good feeling."

Rodriguez homered for the third straight game, hitting a two-run, fourth-inning shot off Casey Fossum (6-9) to boost his American League-leading total to 36. Sheffield hit No. 25, a solo blast off reliever Travis Harper, for a 5-2 lead in the seventh.

But Wright (3-2) was the story for the Yankees, whose starting rotation has been in shambles because of injuries.

"He's one of the guys we counted on when spring training started," Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "He has basically had a long, boring road back because there wasn't a whole lot for him to do other than rest it and rehab it. Right now, he's tickled pink."

Pitching for the first time since April 23, the right-hander allowed two runs and four hits in 6 1/3 innings -- his longest outing of the season. He struck out two, walked one and hit three batters, including Jonny Gomes twice.

In between the plunkings, Gomes hit a solo homer off Wright in the fourth. The Devil Rays also scored on Toby Hall's RBI single in the fifth.

Tanyon Sturtze replaced Wright with two runners on and one out in the seventh, and Tom Gordon pitched a perfect eighth for the Yankees. Mariano Rivera, who also hit Gomes with a pitch, got the last three outs for his 32nd save, moving ahead of Jeff Reardon for fifth place on the career list with 368.

Wright had been on the DL since April 24, one day after leaving a loss against Texas. It was the eighth time he has been on the disabled list in his nine-year career, and the sixth because of a shoulder problem.

"Coming out of that game was a definite low point. I didn't know if I'd be able to throw again -- how it would play out," Wright said, crediting pitching specialist Billy Connors and trainer Mark Littlefield with helping him get back on track.

"The guys worked with me. ... We put in the time to give myself a chance to come back. It's just super to be back."

Monday's start was his fifth of the season, and second against Tampa Bay, which roughed up the right-hander for eight runs and 11 hits in 5 1/3 innings in the Yankees' 19-8 victory over the Devil Rays on April 18.

This time, Wright held the Devil Rays without a hit until Gomes homered with two outs in the fourth to trim New York's lead to 2-1.

"To be on the DL as long as he has, he came out and pitched well," Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella said. "We had a few chances. We didn't get hits when we needed them."

Rodriguez homered for the sixth time in nine games, hitting a towering shot to center field that hit one of the catwalks that support the dome at Tropicana Field, approximately 100 feet above the playing surface.

As he was circling the bases, Rodriguez was not sure if the ball -- picked up by centerfielder Joey Gathright -- was in play or had been ruled a homer. The New York star even slid into third base to beat Gathright's throw back to the infield before being waved home.

"I almost pulled a hamstring," an embarrassed Rodriguez said. "I was confused. I hit the ball, and then I saw the outfielder kind of stop. I said no way he's going to catch this. When I saw the ball on the field, I thought it was a live ball."

The Yankees added two unearned runs in the fifth. Bernie Williams doubled and scored when third baseman Alex Gonzalez booted Derek Jeter's ground ball for an error. Two batters later, Jeter trotted home on Sheffield's RBI single.

Fossum, who beaten the Yankees twice this season, allowed four runs and five hits in six innings. The Devil Rays starter struck out four and walked four before being replaced by Harper, who gave up the homer to Sheffield with two outs in the seventh.

Notes

  • Jeter started at DH for the second time in his career. He was 1-for-4 with a two-run homer in his only other start at DH, July 7, 2002, vs. Toronto.
  • To make room on the roster for Wright, the Yankees optioned left-handed reliever Wayne Franklin to Triple-A Columbus.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Jaret Wright allows two runs and four hits in 6 1/3 innings in his first start since April 23.  (AP)
Jaret Wright allows two runs and four hits in 6 1/3 innings in his first start since April 23. (AP)

Players of the Game
New York

G. Sheffield
AB 4
R 2
H 2
HR 1
RBI 2
Tampa Bay

J. Gomes
AB 1
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 1
 
New York Yankees
Derek Jeter, DH5110000 .304
Robinson Cano, 2B5010001 .281
Gary Sheffield, RF4222001 .303
Alex Rodriguez, 3B3122112 .320
Hideki Matsui, LF2000202 .300
Jason Giambi, 1B4000013 .276
    Tino Martinez, 1B0000000 .239
Jorge Posada, C3000101 .252
Bernie Williams, CF3110101 .251
    Bubba Crosby, CF0000000 .179
Felix Escalona, SS4000023 .000
Totals335745414 
Batting
2B - Alex Rodriguez (20, Harper), Bernie Williams (16, Fossum)
HR - Gary Sheffield (25, Harper), Alex Rodriguez (36, Fossum)
RBI - Gary Sheffield 2 (91), Alex Rodriguez 2 (97)
2-OUT RBI - Gary Sheffield 2 (21), Alex Rodriguez 2 (45)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
DP - Escalona-Giambi
New York Yankees
Jaret Wright (W,3-2) 6.1422121 7.62
Tanyon Sturtze (H,14) 0.2000000 4.18
Tom Gordon (H,23) 1000010 2.80
Mariano Rivera (S,32) 1100000 1.30
HBP - Gomes (by Jaret Wright), Lugo (by Jaret Wright), Gomes (by Jaret Wright), Gomes (by Mariano Rivera)
WP - Jaret Wright (2)
Pitches-Strikes - Jaret Wright 79-50, Tanyon Sturtze 5-3, Tom Gordon 8-5, Mariano Rivera 18-13
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jaret Wright 6-9, Tanyon Sturtze 1-1, Tom Gordon 1-1, Mariano Rivera 1-2
Batters Faced - Jaret Wright 25, Tanyon Sturtze 2, Tom Gordon 3, Mariano Rivera 5
Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Julio Lugo, SS3000010 .296
Carl Crawford, LF4000001 .286
Jorge Cantu, 2B4000000 .292
Aubrey Huff, RF4010000 .267
Jonny Gomes, DH1111000 .283
Travis Lee, 1B3000122 .270
Alex Gonzalez, 3B4120004 .259
Toby Hall, C4011005 .286
Joey Gathright, CF3000003 .292
Totals302521315 
Batting
2B - Aubrey Huff (19, M. Rivera), Alex Gonzalez (11, Wright)
HR - Jonny Gomes (16, Wright)
RBI - Jonny Gomes (31), Toby Hall (37)
2-OUT RBI - Jonny Gomes (11)
SB - Jonny Gomes 2 (4, 2nd base off Wright/Posada, 2nd base off M. Rivera/Posada)
CS - Julio Lugo (6, 2nd base by Wright/Posada)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
DP - Lee, Cantu-Lee
E - Alex Gonzalez (11, misplayed grounder)
Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Casey Fossum (L,6-10) 6542441 4.40
Travis Harper 2211101 7.38
Jesus Colome 1000000 5.88
IBB - Williams by Casey Fossum
Pitches-Strikes - Casey Fossum 125-79, Travis Harper 30-16, Jesus Colome 9-6
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Casey Fossum 9-5, Travis Harper 3-2, Jesus Colome 1-2
Batters Faced - Casey Fossum 27, Travis Harper 8, Jesus Colome 3
Game Information
Attendance - 19320
Game Time - 2:42
Temperature - 72
Umpires - Home - Wally Bell, First Base - Lance Barksdale, Second Base - Jim Reynolds, Third Base - John Hirschbeck